Doctors say survey underestimates number of women dying from botched abortions

Women denied the right to an abortion are injuring and killing themselves in an attempt to end their pregnancies, doctors and specialists say. In Yangon’s Central Women’s Hospital, it is estimated that from one-third to half of pregnancy deaths occur because of botched abortions, often carried out by the women themselves. The two main causes of maternal mortality are heavy blood loss after birth, known as menorrhagia, and related infections. Many of the women brought to hospital arrive too late to be saved, said obstetrics and gynaecology specialist Dr Soe Lwin, an associate professor at the hospital. “Of every 10 pregnant women who die in our hospital, six have had unsafe abortions,” he said. “A patient suffering from menorrhagia can die within the hour. A woman who becomes infected after an unsafe abortion can suffer for a long time. And, if she is not brought to hospital in time, she will die.” “The death rate from unsafe abortions is not precisely known, but is expected to be high,” Dr Soe Lwin added.

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