In Asia, unsafe abortion accounts for 12 per cent of all maternal deaths, higher than in any other region of the world with an estimated 38,000 women dying each year from medical complications alone. Half of the world’s unsafe abortions (10.5 million) took place in Asia in 2000.
About 14 unsafe abortions occur for every 100 live births in Asia, excluding East Asia where safe abortion is widely accessible.2 There has been a continuous struggle to maintain the status quo with regard to safe abortion where it is available and to reverse the situation where it is not available, inspite of the relative successes of implementing key recommendations of the ICPD. The present US government’s policy on abortion has a disproportionately negative influence, affecting funding availability, making other governments and NGOs nervous about cutbacks in financial resources for their sexual and reproductive health programmes. Time after time, the US government directly and indirectly goes to extraordinary lengths to exert their double-standard point of view on others, as recently witnessed at the ESCAP conference in Bangkok and other UN organised conferences. Abortion is legal in the US, but its government will not fund abortion outside the US.