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This book focuses on one central but until now intransigent aspect of women’s health: How to reduce the toll of death and morbidity associated with unsafe abortion. For the first time in the history of international decision-making, Cairo established a consensus on abortion. This was reaffirmed in the 1999 United Nations General Assembly statement. Where abortion is illegal, many women use herbal remedies, take modern drugs in unsupervised ways, attempt to physically self-induce, or seek help from abortion providers working outside the law. Where abortion is illegal, women are exposed to painful, dangerous procedures and many fall so sick that they need to be admitted to a hospital or clinic. As this book demonstrates, progress has been made in improving access to postabortion care (PAC). Combined with counseling and access to contraceptives and reproductive health services, PAC helps women and reduces pressure on overstretched health services. The careful documentation and objective discussion this book provides should help overcome the common reluctance of health professionals and policymakers to confront the public health issues raised by abortion.






Frontiers in Reproductive Health