Warning on Unsafe Abortions
Warning on Unsafe Abortions

Warning on Unsafe Abortions

The WHO defines unsafe abortion as a procedure for terminating a pregnancy that is performed by an individual lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both

Warning on Unsafe Abortions

From among the 1.7 million pregnancies in a year, 1.5 million lead to live births while 200,000 end in termination of pregnancy, said Muhammad Esmael Motlaq, director general of the Office for Population, Families, and Schools at the Health Ministry.
“This number is the official estimate since illegal abortions are not registered. However, the rate of illegal abortions has tripled over the past 15 years,” he said on the sidelines of the conference ‘Population Policies and Maternal and Child Health’, at Dezful University of Medical Sciences, Khuzestan Province, Wednesday.
According to the Health Ministry, the annual number of legal medical termination of pregnancies (MTP) is around 6,000. During the first half of the current year, 5,720 women sought MTP of which 4,019 were granted approval.
Statistics from Iran’s Legal Medicine Office also show that out of 6,656 petitions seeking permission to undergo abortion last year, 4,000 were approved.
The number of requests made and permits granted have increased by 17.9% and 14.3%, respectively, compared to the same period last year.
Pointing to the various psychological effects of unsafe abortions, Motlaq said, “Depression, infections, and intrauterine adhesions are some of the health complications,” IRNA reported.
Illegal abortions especially by quacks and unprofessional persons may result in permanent impairment of a woman’s reproductive health system or cause irreversible damage to her internal organs due to infections, improper or unprofessional use of surgical tools or an incomplete abortion procedure, he warned.
At present, there are 13 million fertile couples in the country who are “valuable assets” for increasing the population growth rate which has come down to 1.3% now from almost 4% in the 1980s.
“However, we should also keep in mind that the current 16 million adolescents in the 80 million population of the country can become the most productive cohort if they are nurtured through proper investments,” like education and job security in the future.

 Unsafe Abortions
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) induced abortion rate has declined significantly in the developed world between 1990 and 2014, but not in developing countries.  
A woman’s likelihood of having an abortion is slightly elevated if she lives in a developing region. In 2008, there were 29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in developing countries, compared with 24 per 1,000 in the developed world.
The WHO defines unsafe abortion as a procedure for terminating a pregnancy that is performed by an individual lacking the necessary skills, or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards, or both.

 Anti-Abortion Pills Banned
According to Mohammad Mahdi Akhundi, head of Iranian Society of Embryology and Reproductive Biology, import of abortion pills is banned. However the pills (misoprostol) and vials (prostaglandin) that can cause miscarriage are available in the black market and pharmaceutical peddlers sell the illegal stuff on Nasser Khosrow Street near Tehran’s main Grand Bazaar.
Stating that mortality due to unsafe abortions is categorized as maternal death, he said “Annually around 290 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.” The figure was 291 in 2013 and 293 in the following year.
The other causes of maternal deaths include preeclampsia, infections, heart related disorders and embolism. Iran has committed to reduce maternal mortality to zero by the year 2030.
Termination of pregnancy is legal in Iran – but only if the woman can prove that giving birth would pose a health risk to herself or her child. So women who want to undergo abortion for other reasons have to seek dangerous and risky underground methods. This often takes them to the infamous and dark alleys of Naser Khosrow Street in south Tehran.


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