What is post-abortion care?

Our team members around the world see the impacts of unsafe abortion on their communities far too often. For Christine, an MSI nurse in rural Uganda, a turning point came when a teenage girl in her community died after an unsafe abortion.

Christine ran a pharmacy in her village. But when she saw the toll of unsafe abortion, she turned to MSI for training on how to treat other women who’ve had the same experience. Now, she saves lives.

Unsafe abortion remains one of the leading causes of maternal deaths around the world. This is a great tragedy, because these deaths are almost entirely preventable. One way to prevent deaths from unsafe abortion is by providing post-abortion care.

Christine stands outside of her clinic, where she provides care after unsafe abortions and other reproductive healthcare.

What is post-abortion care?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 10-50% of women who have an unsafe abortion need medical care. Post-abortion care is a treatment to prevent death or injury from either incomplete or unsafe abortion, and is often an emergency procedure. This can include:

MSI works to offer safe abortion and post-abortion care services in our centers, offering a choice of medical and surgical abortion options; via our mobile outreach teams, delivering access to rural and underserved communities; and by partnering with others, working across the public and private sectors to develop an integrated referral network of high quality, safe services. 

Post-abortion care is legal in every country worldwide, so MSI is able to offer this care in every country where we work.

Why is post-abortion care important?

Annually, over 9 million women face complications as a result of unsafe abortion. These include:

22,800 women each year will die. 

By quickly responding when a woman has experienced an unsafe abortion, we can prevent deaths and disability and help women heal. 

Our providers see the impact of high-quality post-abortion care in their practices. Christine, the rural provider in Uganda, told us that losing a patient changed her perspective on abortion and inspired her to seek training on post-abortion care. With MSI’s support, she feels confident that she will be more prepared in the future to help the women in her community access safe care, preserving their health.   

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