Abortion incidence and postabortion care in Rwanda

Stud Fam Plann. 2012 Mar;43(1):11-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2012.00298.x.


Abortion is illegal in Rwanda except when necessary to protect a woman's physical health or to save her life. Many women in Rwanda obtain unsafe abortions, and some experience health complications as a result. To estimate the incidence of induced abortion, we conducted a national sample survey of health facilities that provide postabortion care and a purposive sample survey of key informants knowledgeable about abortion conditions. We found that more than 16,700 women received care for complications resulting from induced abortion in Rwanda in 2009, or 7 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Approximately 40 percent of abortions are estimated to lead to complications requiring treatment, but about a third of those who experienced a complication did not obtain treatment. Nationally, the estimated induced abortion rate is 25 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, or approximately 60,000 abortions annually. An urgent need exists in Rwanda to address unmet need for contraception, to strengthen family planning services, to broaden access to legal abortion, and to improve postabortion care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aftercare / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pregnancy