x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Illegal abortions carry huge risks

Backstreet abortions carry more than just legal risks in the UAE; they can kill.

Backstreet abortions carry more than just legal risks: mothers risk severe complications and death.

"With unskilled hands, this really carries high-risk complications," said Dr Bashar Abduh, a specialist gynaecologist and obstetrics doctor at Al Noor Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

Still illegal in many countries, including the UAE, the legal upper limit for abortion in the UK, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands is 24 weeks.

The main complication in carrying out a termination, particularly at a late stage in the pregnancy, is with continuous bleeding. "Sometimes the bleeding will not arrest," he said.

"And sometimes, when they try [this], the abortion fails." In these cases, a foetus has to be removed and that could result in abdominal trauma to the intestines and bladder.

Rupturing of the uterus is another potential serious complication and requires surgical intervention by a professionals to prevent the death of the mother. In some cases a hysterectomy (removal of the woman's uterus) is the only possible treatment.

* Zaineb Al Hassani