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RCOG/FSRH statement on access to safe and legal abortion care worldwide

News 28 September 2018

Today marks International Safe Abortion Day.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) strongly support universal access to safe, legal, high quality and compassionate abortion care for women and girls around the world.

Globally, it is estimated that 25 million of all abortions are unsafe. Around 5-13% of maternal deaths can be attributed to unsafe abortion and around 7 million women are admitted to hospitals as a result of unsafe abortions in developing countries.

Unsafe abortions can be prevented by ensuring that women and girls are empowered to avoid unplanned pregnancies. This can be achieved by ensuring they have access to comprehensive relationships and sex education, high quality family planning and a choice of all available and effective contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives and emergency contraception. Crucially women and girls must also have access to safe, legal, timely and compassionate abortion and post-abortion care. Women and girls must be able to access abortion care without fear of criminal sanctions, stigma and harassment.

Access to these basic reproductive health care services upholds basic human rights and dignity, and is critical to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030.


Note to Editors

For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on 020 7045 6773 / email and/or FSRH at 02037945309

Information about Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion

World Health Organization resource and statistics on unsafe abortions worldwide

Information about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Information about RCOG’s Leading Safe Choices, an initiative that aims to strengthen the competence and raise the standing of family planning professionals in South Africa and Tanzania.

About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.

About FSRH
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) is the largest UK professional membership organisation working at the heart of sexual and reproductive health (SRH), supporting healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care. It works with its 15,000 members, to shape sexual reproductive health for all. It produces evidence-based clinical guidance, standards, training, qualifications and research into SRH. It also delivers conferences and publishes the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health in partnership with the BMJ. For more information please visit: