Unsafe abortion in adolescents

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2001 Nov;75(2):137-47. doi: 10.1016/s0020-7292(01)00370-8.


Every year, an estimated 2.0-4.4 million adolescents resort to abortion. In comparison with adults, adolescents are more likely to delay the abortion, resort to unskilled persons to perform it, use dangerous methods and present late when complications arise. Adolescents are also more likely to experience complications. Consequently, adolescents seeking abortion or presenting with complications of abortion should be considered as a medical emergency. Issues requiring special attention in the management of abortion complications in adolescents are identified. Approaches to adolescent abortion should involve all levels of the health care system, as well as the community, and should include not only management of the consequences of unsafe abortion, but also post-abortion contraception and counseling. Prevention of unwanted pregnancy by providing information on sexuality, ensuring that reproductive health services are adolescent-friendly, creating a supportive environment, building young people's social and decision-making skills, and offering counseling in times of crisis are highlighted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / adverse effects
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services
  • Counseling
  • Culture
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence*
  • Risk Factors