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The new analysis distinguished, for the first time, among three categories of abortion: safe, meaning a trained provider used a method recommended by World Health Organization; less-safe, meaning either the provider was untrained or the method was outdated; and least-safe, meaning an untrained provider used risky methods.

SPUC researcher Fiorella Nash has written before about how it is misleading to talk about "safe" and "unsafe" abortion. The further eight million were performed under desperate circumstances - named "least safe" - and included toxic pills and inserting wires to force a miscarriage, among other methods. This is the case if they are carried out by a trained staff, but with a method that is dated (such as curettage), or the opposite direction with safe means (including the use of misoprostol, a drug widely used), but in the absence of competent staff.

"In countries where abortion is completely banned or permitted only to save the woman's life or preserve her physical health, only one in four abortions were safe; whereas, in countries where abortion is legal on broader grounds, almost nine in 10 abortions were done safely".

Approximately 55 percent of all abortions from 2010 to 2014 were conducted safely, which means they were performed by a trained health worker using a WHO-recommended method appropriate to the pregnancy duration. Nevertheless, this type of informal self-use of medication abortion that women have to resort to secretly does not meet WHO's safe abortion standards.

"Among the developed regions, the distributions of abortions across the safety categories were similar with the majority of abortions being performed under safe conditions, except for Eastern Europe, where 14% were less safe", Ganatra said.

Less than 25% of abortions in most regions of Africa and Latin America were considered safe.

They say women may die as a result of more serious complications because of the unsafe methods used to bring about an abortion - and their health services may then not have the skills or resources to treat them.

"Restricting access to abortions does not reduce the number of abortions", it stated. Europe and North America didn't even rank for "least safe" abortions.

The percentage of abortions that were safe in low-income countries. Yet in South-Central Asia, less than one in two abortions were safe. The results were published Wednesday in the journal Lancet. However, if we take the numbers at face value, the question arises: if there are so many unsafe abortions, why are these bodies campaigning for this medically unnecessary procedure in the very places in the world where complications are more likely, whether the abortion is legal or not? Of those unsafe abortions, the majority were characterized as "least safe".

Provision of safe, legal abortion is essential to fulfilling the global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health (target 3.7).

The researchers cautioned that reliable abortion data are hard to obtain, especially in places where it is illegal or otherwise stigmatized.

The percentage of abortions that were safe in countries where the procedure is legal and available on request.