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Safe abortion and post-abortion care

Providing access to safe abortion and post-abortion care is at the core of our mission.

Safe abortion saves lives.

As one of the world's leading pro-choice organisations, we are unapologetic in our defence of a woman's right to abortion, and we are proud to provide safe abortion services wherever the law permits. 

Worldwide, one in four pregnancies will end in abortion, approximately 56 million every year. In the countries where we are legally permitted to do so, we help women to safely end their pregnancies. By providing services to women when and where they need them, we can reduce the number of women that are forced to resort to unsafe abortions, risking their health and in some cases their life. 

We believe every woman has the right to determine her own future, whether that means using contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy or choosing to end a pregnancy through unsafe abortion. Access to safe abortion does not only enable a woman to determine her own future, but also means she can contribute to creating a better, more sustainable future for everyone. 

Every day, women and girls around the world seek abortions but don't have access to safe services. Many women don't know where to turn for support, don't know what the law allows, or they are too worried about the stigma associated with abortion to even ask for help. This lack of knowledge and fear of judgement is putting lives at risk.

High levels of stigma around abortion are creating a culture of silence, meaning women who need safe services often lack essential information on where to access them. Stigma feeds silence, and silence feeds myths. Myths that misinform, mislead and further stigmatise. It’s a vicious and harmful circle that we need to break.

Stigma feeds silence, and silence feeds myths. Myths that misinform, mislead and further stigmatise. It’s a vicious and harmful circle that we need to break.

The cost of unsafe abortion

Counterfeit drugs, quack doctors, knitting needles, pesticides, small bottles filled with improvised explosives inserted into the uterus. These are just some of the things girls and women resort to in desperate attempts to end their pregnancy if safe services are unavailable. 

Almost half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe: an estimated 25 million each year. As a result, an estimated seven million women will face complications and 22,800 will die. Restricting safe abortion services does not stop women wanting or needing them. Instead, restrictions make it more likely women will resort to dangerous measures to end a pregnancy, either through untrained backstreet abortionists or by taking matters into their own hands. Globally, 8-11% of maternal deaths are attributed to unsafe abortions[1]

We refuse to be silent while women are dying. 

Our experience shows that through working together we can eliminate unsafe abortion. But we cannot do it alone. We need providers, governments, donors and civil society to come together and to make a commitment that the lives of women and girls are worth saving. 

Our commitment to eliminate unsafe abortion

What we do

Wherever we can, we provide safe abortion and post-abortion care services for women and girls who have decided to end a pregnancy. We always respect and comply with national laws and regulations on abortion, but stand shoulder to shoulder with women and girls worldwide in the global drive to liberalise abortion law, eliminate unsafe abortion and prevent maternal deaths. Our position on this is non-negotiable. 

Our services

Medical abortion

Medical abortion (the abortion pill) involves taking medication to end a pregnancy. 

It's a safe, non-invasive alternative to surgical abortion, which we can offer to women outside of a healthcare environment This means women can have more control over when and where their treatment takes place. 

Most of the safe abortion services we provide are medical abortions and medical post-abortion care services. Expanding access to medical abortion continues to be one of the most important tools in combating the harm of unsafe abortion.

Surgical abortion

Performed by a doctor in a healthcare facility, surgical abortion is a safe and effective procedure to end a pregnancy. 

As with all our abortion procedures, we discuss all the options available to our clients so they can make an informed choice that fits their needs.

Post-abortion care

All of our programmes provide post-abortion care, life-saving care for women who experience complications from an incomplete, spontaneous (miscarriage) or unsafe abortion. Our teams are trained to assess and treat any damage that has been caused, often providing the client urgent care that will save their life.

As emergency medical treatment, post-abortion care can always be legally provided, and is particularly important in countries where legal restrictions on safe abortion mean there are high rates of unsafe abortion.

When she decides...

The world is better, stronger and safer. In this story, we highlight some of the incredibly strong women we have met, whose stories linger with us.

Christiana Kposowa

Christiana planned on going to university but, with two small babies already, falling pregnant a third time was the last thing she needed.

Jane Vika Alfayo – young client

I didn’t want to give birth. I just felt like I wanted to abort my pregnancy, as I was in school, I was young, and I didn’t know how to take care of a baby.

Dina Appiah

Without Marie Stopes I don’t know where I would be, maybe I’d be dead.

Naomi Mwansa – young client

I was scared to go to prison. I was worried about the number of years I would spend there. I was really scared.

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If you are here looking for services, we may be able to assist you depending on where you live and your situation. Please head to where we work via the link below to find your local service.

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Trust women to make choices that are right for them

Every year, 25 million women resort to unsafe abortions because they have no other option available. This is unacceptable. Working together, we can eliminate unsafe abortion in five years.