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Trends in Abortion Policies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Authors
  • Allotey, Pascale
  • Ravindran, T.K. Sundari
  • Sathivelu, Vithiya
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Public Health
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
42
Pages
505–518
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-082619-102442
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

The decision to terminate a pregnancy is not one that is taken lightly. The need for an abortion reflects limited sexual autonomy, ineffective or lack of access to contraceptive options, or a health indication. Abortion is protected under human rights law. That notwithstanding, access to abortions continues to be contested in many parts of the world, with vested interests from politically and religiously conservative states, patriarchal societies, and cultural mores, not just within local contexts but also within a broader geopolitical context. Criminalization of a women's choice not to carry a pregnancy is a significant driver of unsafe procedures, and even where abortions are provided legally, the policies remain constrained by the practice or by a lack of coherence. This review outlines the trends in abortion policy in low- and middle-income countries and highlights priority areas to ensure that women are safe and able to exercise their reproductive rights.

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