A report by Gynuity and PRB prepared in 2008 takes a comprehensive look at the scheme of events prevailing in the Middle East and North Africa, concerning abortions. The report notes that unsafe abortions are among the most neglected public health challenges in the region (looking specifically, as the report explains, at Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, the Palestinian Territory, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen) In the region, an estimate of one out of four pregnancies are unintended as explained by the Global Health Council. The report explains that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.5 million abortions in MENA in 2003 were performed in unsanitary settings, by unskilled providers, or both, and the complications arising out of those abortions accounted for 11 percent of maternal deaths in the region.
The report begins by taking a look at the connection that abortions have to the region. One of the oldest medical practices that dates back to Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it is ironic that a majority of the region’s countries outlaw the practice. Even as medicine and science have advanced enough to make abortion a safe and accessible procedure when done under medical supervision and high standards of care, there are plenty of barriers that prevent comfortable access. This policy brief explores the public health concerns surrounding abortion in MENA and discusses ways to make it both rarer and safer.
Read the report here.