Trends of abortion complications in a transition of abortion law revisions in Ethiopia

J Public Health (Oxf). 2009 Mar;31(1):81-7. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdn068. Epub 2008 Aug 14.


Background: Evidence from developed countries has shown that abortion-related mortality and morbidity has decreased with the liberalization of the abortion law. This study aimed to assess the trend of hospital-based abortion complications during the transition of legalization in Ethiopia in May 2005.

Methods: Medical records of women with abortion complications from 2003 to 2007 were reviewed (n = 773). Abortion and its complications with regard to legalization were described by rates and ratios, and predictors of fatal outcomes were analyzed by logistic regression.

Results: The overall and abortion-related maternal mortality ratios (AMMRs) showed a non-statistically significant downward trend over the 5-year period. However, the case fatality rate of abortion increased from 1.1% in 2003 to 3.6% in 2007. Late gestational age, history of interference and presenting after new abortion legislation passed have been found to be significant predictors of mortality.

Conclusion: Decreased trends of abortion ratio and the AMMR were identified, but the severity of abortion complications and the case fatality rate increased during the transition of legal revision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Abortion, Induced / mortality
  • Abortion, Induced / trends*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Mortality
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications*
  • Young Adult