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Laws, Policies In Every Nation Should Ensure Women Have Access To Family Planning Services, Including Safe Abortions

The Telegraph: How legal restrictions on abortion are harming women all over the world
Ann M. Starrs, president of the Guttmacher Institute

“…According to a recent study conducted jointly by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute, the overwhelming majority of abortions are safe in countries where the procedure is broadly legal, while most are unsafe in countries where it is highly restricted. … As long as women are being injured or are dying from unsafe procedures, there is a clear need to improve polices and services to prevent that from occurring. … Women and couples worldwide should have the right to safely achieve their desired family size and preferred timing of births. To make this a reality, high-quality, comprehensive contraceptive services need to be available and affordable, so that women and couples can prevent unintended pregnancy whenever possible. But when contraceptives fail or when a woman experiences an unwanted pregnancy for any reason, access to safe services to terminate that pregnancy are essential. Countries should expand the circumstances under which abortion is legal, and ensure safe abortion services are available and accessible. And public awareness campaigns can help to reduce stigma. These are smart moves to promote the health of women, their families, and societies as a whole. Simply put, they are the right thing to do” (5/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.