In countries where induced abortion is permitted, national family planning programs are able to combine pre- and postconceptive fertility control methods to maximize success in achieving personally desired fertility levels and nationally desired growth levels. The proscription against induced abortion tends to produce criminal abortions and consequent morbidity and mortality which, in some countries, are often recognized as a national health problem. The International Fertility Research Program has undertaken this study of incomplete, inevitable, threatened and septic abortion cases, using a standard data collection instrument, to facilitate comparisons across institutions and countries. The data gather since 1971 in nine Asian, African and Middle Eastern hospitals includes 7,331 cases. Policies of the participating institutions with respect to what constitutes a therapeutic abortion affected the proportions of spontaneous abortions and of abortions induced outside the hospital and inside the hospital. Women treated for induced abortion tended to be of higher parity and more likely to have attained their desired family size than patients treated for spontaneous abortions. Morbidity rates were quite low for patients treated in centers where vacuum aspiration was mainly used, particularly in contrast to the morbidity rates for patients treated in centers where dilatation and curettage was used exclusively. High mortality rates in patients admitted with sepsis confirm the need not only for improvement of clinical procedures but also for reconsideration of the legal issues since many patients admitted with sepsis can be assumed to have had abortions induced.
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