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published: 21 August 2020
Insight suggests that COVID-19 restrictions mean that 1.9 million fewer women were able to access contraceptive services, resulting in 1.5 million unsafe abortions and more than 3,000 maternal deaths.
When lockdown restrictions came into place in March 2020, we faced a lot of uncertainty about how we would navigate vital services. But now, Marie Slopes International (MSI) – an organisation providing contraception and safe abortions in 37 countries – has revealed that a staggering number of women were unable to access sexual and reproductive services, with dire consequences.
In their report, MSI shared that 1.9 million fewer women around the globe were able to access their services between January and June, in comparison to 2019, leading them to predict this will result in 900,000 unintended pregnancies, 1.5 million unsafe abortions, and more than 3,000 maternal deaths.
Assessing why COVID-19 has impacted women in this way, MSI points to three key areas:
- Perceived redacted availability of abortion services – just 21% of UK women thought that abortion services were still available during lockdown
- Needs for contraceptive, abortion, and domestic abuse services remained the same
- Barriers to accessing services – women face fear and confusion about whether they were able to leave home to seek services