Abortion is a serious health problem in Brazil and complications can be avoided by adequate and timely care. The article evaluates the quality of care given to women admitted for abortion in hospitals operated by the Unified Health System, in Salvador, Recife and São Luis, the benchmarks being Ministry of Health norms and user satisfaction. The article analyzes 2804 women admitted to hospital for abortion complications in 19 hospitals, between August and December 2010. Four dimensions were defined: reception and guidance; inputs and physical environment; technical quality and continuity of care. There was a closer fit to norms on reception and guidance. Social support and the right to information were not well rated in all three cities. The technical quality of care was rated poor. With respect to inputs and physical environment, cleanliness was the least adequate criterion. Continuity of care was the most critical situation in all three cities, due to the lack of scheduled follow-up appointments, information about care available after hospital discharge, the risk of further pregnancy and family planning. Abortion care falls short of that advocated under Brazilian norms and by international agencies.