Can universal health coverage eliminate unsafe abortion?

Health systems   |   11 December 2020 

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Progress towards universal health coverage could lead to transformational improvements in health worldwide. Although the goal of universal health coverage (UHC) unites the global health community, UHC alone cannot end the mortality and morbidity caused by unsafe abortion. Simple, safe and effective interventions exist for abortion care but high levels of unsafe abortion persist, driven by restrictive laws and policies, limited funding allocation, low service coverage, lack of knowledge, and abortion stigma.

This commentary from MSI Reproductive Choice’s evidence team explores how universal coverage can support the elimination of unsafe abortion by including abortion in essential services packages, expanding access to care, addressing financial and social barriers and including abortion access within monitoring indicators. The commentary also discusses issues beyond UHC that must be addressed in order to eliminate unsafe abortion, including removal of restrictive abortion laws and policies as well as combatting abortion stigma.


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