Despite progress, unsafe abortion persists
After liberalizing Ethiopia’s abortion law in 2005, the government implemented programs designed to train health-care providers, to equip facilities and expand the services they offer, and to integrate abortion care into broader reproductive health services. These efforts have resulted in significant improvements in access to abortion and postabortion care in the country. Although many procedures continue to occur outside health facilities, often under unsafe conditions, the share of abortions that took place in health facilities nearly doubled between 2008 and 2014, according to a national study by the Guttmacher Institute and Ipas, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Ethiopian Public Health Association, and in conjunction with Ethiopia’s Federal Ministry of Health.
Postabortion contraceptive care
Looking to the future
Roughly 10 years since law reform and implementation, the country has made significant progress in improving access to safe abortion services, but additional improvements are still necessary. Despite advances, 47 percent of abortions took place outside of health facilities in 2014. And 19 percent of women seeking postabortion care that year had complications severe enough to warrant hospitalization. The study’s authors point to continued focus on postabortion contraceptive counseling as an effective way to reduce unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion.
“Access to safe abortion care has improved, yet many women continue to have unsafe abortions outside of health facilities,” says Tamara Fetters, Ipas researcher and co-author of the study. “Despite government efforts, some women don’t know that safe abortion services are available, or they may fear the stigma associated with abortion.”
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