2003, Number s1
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ABSTRACTUnsafe abortion is a threat to the health and life of women. This article reviews the many legal, social, and health service factors that together contribute to the problem of unsafe abortion in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Legal restrictions on abortion in the majority of Latin American countries result in a deficiency within the health system with respect to providing safe services to women for termination of pregnancy. In this context, women with unwanted pregnancies often opt for clandestine procedures that result in high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality. In addition, within the social sphere diverse factors related to violence have been identified in women who abort.
We present several proposals for primary prevention of unsafe abortion, such as reduction of unwanted pregnancies among adolescents as well as the organization of services for providing legal abortions. Additionally, we identify aspects of unsafe abortion that need to be explored further in the region.
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