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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Unsafe abortions 'kill thousands'
Image of a woman
Millions of woman have unsafe abortions each year
Almost 200 women die each day after having a botched abortion, according to a report.

Ipas, a non-governmental organisation based in the United States, says there are 70,000 such deaths each year.

It says unsafe abortions are also leaving thousands of women with long-term debilitating injuries. The biggest problems are in Asia.

The report was presented at Countdown 2015, a conference to review efforts to improve sexual health worldwide.

The event, which is being held in London, is examining what progress has been made since the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in1994.

The United Nations sponsored conference set out targets to improve sexual and reproductive health around the world by 2015.

These deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion are preventable
Elizabeth Maguire,
International governments pledged to make abortion safe and accessible in those countries where it is legal.

Ipas says its report suggests much more needs to be done.

Unsafe abortions

It found that 10m women undergo unsafe abortions in Asia each year. About half that number are carried out in Africa and Latin America.

In Asia, unsafe abortions account for 50% of all pregnancy-related deaths of women. In Africa, the figure is 44% while in Latin America it is 6%.

The organisation said the deaths could be prevented. It accused political, social and religious movements of standing in the way.

"Forty women every minute undergo an unsafe abortion and 200 are dying every day," said Elizabeth Maguire, its president.

"Unsafe abortion poses a serious threat to the health and lives of women all around the world, not just in Asia."

She added: "These deaths and disabilities from unsafe abortion are preventable."

Ipas campaigns for abortion to made legal in every country.

"Changing the laws and effectively implementing those changes is the only way to ensure that women can fully exercise their right to decide whether and when to have children," said Ms Maguire.

However, the UK charity Life criticised the organisation.

"What women need is help and encouragement to continue with their pregnancy," said Nuala Scarisbrick, one of its trustees.

"We should not impose our rotten values on the developing world."

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