Safety

Is abortion risky? Can women easily die?
No. Abortion is safer than childbirth. In the US, 0.6 out of 100,000 abortions result in death while 13 out of 100,000 live births result in death. In Malaysia, the corresponding figures are 27 and 33. (In 2002, the Malaysian Ministry of Health reported 9 out of 33,759 induced abortions resulted in deaths nationwide, based on hospital admissions.) The major risk is that of infection deriving from unsafe abortion procedures.

How many abortions can a woman’s body take? What is the maximum number of times for a safe abortion?
There is no maximum. Early abortion is almost like having a heavy menstrual period. Clinically, there is a small risk of infection for any abortion, which may lead to infertility. Other risks are minimal. The lining of the uterus is removed, which is usually shed monthly normally.

Does unsafe abortion automatically mean maternal mortality?
Not automatically, but if the abortion results in infection which remains untreated, this can lead to sepsis and death.

Some 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion annually, making it one of the leading causes of maternal mortality (13%). Of the women who survive unsafe abortion, 5 million will suffer long-term health complications. Unsafe abortion is thus a pressing issue, particularly in developing nations, where most unsafe abortions (97%) occur (Haddad, Lisa B., and Nawal M. Nour. 2009. “Unsafe Abortion: Unnecessary Maternal Mortality.” Review of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2(2): 122–126.)

How common are complications from abortion?
Complication rates in cases using manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and terminations up to 12 weeks are virtually nil. Cases in which death occurs are usually associated with the giving of general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is used instead. When complications occur, there is an arrangement with a local hospital for referral. At this particular clinic, this only happens every one to three years.

Are women requesting abortions screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and any other infectious diseases?
Yes. During the initial check-up, the woman is given antibiotics if at risk. If the case is serious, she is sent to an STI clinic.

Women are requested to come for follow-up visits two weeks post-abortion and screened for urinary tract infections, among others. A few clients return a few months later with pelvic pain, but this is rare.

How do you provide effective infection control of hepatitis and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) if you reuse plastic cannulas during the abortion procedure?
Karman cannulae are designed for reuse; there is a protocol for washing and cold re-sterilization with an antiseptic which has been proven to be totally safe.

This particular clinic follows the protocols of the UK Royal Society of Medicine, the UK O&G Department and the World Health Organization, who have done large scale studies and found this to be the safest method. It is not possible to know what happens more than six months post-procedure from this clinic. However, general clinical studies do not show any adverse effects.


These are questions asked at state seminars held by RRAAM from 2007 thru to the present, primarily for health care providers serving in hospitals and clinics. The answers provided are by RRAAM presenters at these seminars. Some questions were asked only once but they are deemed important enough to be published here. Since laws, policies and guidelines evolve with time and changing social conditions, the answers provided here are necessarily time-bound. Wherever and whenever possible, we will strive to keep these answers accurate and updated. However, we cannot assume liability for the veracity of information provided.