Updated WHO Guidance on Safe Abortion: Health and Human Rights

Joanna Erdman


Since its first publication in 2003, the World Health Organization's “Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems” has had an influence on abortion policy, law, and practice worldwide. To reflect significant developments in the clinical, service delivery, and human rights aspects of abortion care, the Guidance was updated in 2012. This article reviews select recommendations of the updated Guidance, highlighting 3 key themes that run throughout its chapters: evidence-based practice and assessment, human rights standards, and a pragmatic orientation to safe and accessible abortion care. These themes not only connect the chapters into a coherent whole. They reflect the research and advocacy efforts of a growing field in women's health and human rights.

This paper was co-authored with Teresa DePiñeres, Fundación Oriéntame (tdepineres@globalhealth.ucsf.edu) and Eszter Kismodi, University of Toronto.


Health Law; Gender and Sexuality


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