Over five million abortions have been committed globally between January 1 and this moment, according to Worldometer.
According to the reference website, since the dawn of this day alone, over 43,000 abortions have been committed.
Worldometer, formerly Worldometers, is a reference website that provides counters and real-time statistics for diverse topics. It is owned and operated by a Chinese data company Dadax which generates revenue through online advertising.
Dadax says the data on abortion as displayed on Worldometers is based on the latest statistics published by the World Health Organisation.
“Abortion as a term most commonly — and in the statistics presented here — refers to the induced abortion of a human pregnancy, while spontaneous abortions are usually termed miscarriages,” the site says.
As of the time of filing this story, no less than 5,411,466 people have committed abortions globally, according to the statistics which changes virtually every second.
According to the World Health Organisation, 45 percent of all abortions are unsafe and almost all of these unsafe abortions occur in the developing world.
“Each year, almost half of all pregnancies – 121 million – are unintended, and six out of 10 unintended pregnancies end in induced abortion. When an unsafe abortion is carried out to terminate a pregnancy, there can be devastating and long-term physiological, financial, and emotional costs to the woman and her family, as well as to her community at large,” WHO said.
The world health body noted that the physical complications of unsafe abortion include hemorrhage (heavy bleeding), infection, sepsis, peritonitis, and trauma to the cervix, vagina, uterus, and abdominal organs.
“One in four women who undergo an unsafe abortion is likely to develop temporary or lifelong disability requiring medical care.
“Between 4.7 percent and 13.2 percent of all maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion. Mortality from unsafe abortion is much higher in developing regions, and in particular, disproportionately affects women in Africa,” it said.
WHO noted that abortions are safe when they are carried out with a method that is recommended by WHO and that is appropriate to the pregnancy duration, and when the person carrying out the abortion has the necessary skills. Such abortions can be done using tablets (medical abortion) or a simple outpatient procedure.
“When women with unwanted pregnancies do not have access to safe abortion, they often resort to unsafe abortion.
“An abortion is unsafe when it is carried out either by a person lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimum medical standards or both.
“Characteristics of an unsafe abortion touch upon inappropriate circumstances before, during, or after an abortion.
“Unsafe abortion can lead to immediate health risks – including death – as well as long-term complications, affecting women’s physical and mental health and well-being throughout her life-course. It also has financial implications for women and communities.
“Unsafe abortion procedures may involve the insertion of an object or substance (root, twig, or catheter or traditional concoction) into the uterus; dilatation and curettage performed incorrectly by an unskilled provider; ingestion of harmful substances; and application of external force,” it said.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise on the statistics, Secretary-General of the National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Jerry Isogun, said abortion is not legal in Nigeria except if it is therapeutic.
“If there is any abortion going on in this country, it is done secretly because it is illegal and it attracts some years of imprisonment.
“However, there are exceptions if it is performed to save the woman; therapeutic abortion is backed by the law.
“If you read about the law regarding abortion, you have exceptions clearly stated. Otherwise, anybody that does abortion is liable to imprisonment in the country,” Isogun said.
Medically, therapeutic abortion is performed to save the life of the pregnant woman; to prevent harm to the woman’s physical or mental health; to terminate a pregnancy where indications are that the child will have a significantly increased chance of mortality or morbidity, or to selectively reduce the number of fetuses to lessen health risks associated with multiple pregnancies.
Meanwhile, a study published in the BMJ Global Health tiled, Inequities in the incidence and safety of abortion in Nigeria, shows that abortion in Nigeria is a public health concern and an issue of social inequity.
The researchers, led by Suzanne Bell of the Johns Hopkins University, said the confidante data from the study provide a national one year induced abortion incidence of 45.8 per 1000 women of reproductive age, suggesting that abortion is significantly more common than previously estimated.
“Findings indicate that vulnerable, economically disadvantaged women with limited ability to navigate and access a safe abortion in this legally restrictive setting are most at risk of having an unsafe abortion.
“Efforts to expand the legal conditions for abortion in Nigeria are critical as restrictive abortion laws negatively impact abortion safety without reducing overall abortion incidence rates.
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“In the absence of legal expansion, women will continue to seek services from providers who are not regulated and may not have appropriate training but are motivated to provide an abortion for financial gain and/or to alleviate suffering associated with unwanted pregnancies,” they said.
The authors added that some local organisations are currently implementing harm reduction efforts to increase awareness of medication abortion drugs to more safely self-induce, which can help mitigate the toll of abortion-related morbidity and mortality.
“Additionally, improved availability of contraceptive services, including counselling to counteract fears of contraceptive-related infertility, is needed to reduce women’s reliance on unsafe abortion alone to control their fertility.
“More broadly, reproductive health policies and programmes must work to ensure equitable access to contraceptives and safe abortion services for legal indications.
“Furthermore, the availability of quality post-abortion care is critically needed to reduce abortion-related morbidity and mortality given the frequent recourse to unsafe abortion. Inadequate action on any of these fronts will result in continued preventable deaths from unsafe abortion,” they said.