Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
LIMA, Bruno Gil de Carvalho. Abortion-related mortality in Brazil: decrease and spatial inequality . Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2000, vol.7, n.3, pp.168-172. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892000000300005.
Abortion is not only a major cause of obstetric hospitalization in poor countries, but it also represents the failure of the public health system to provide enough information about contraceptive methods and thus prevent pregnancies. In Brazil, the high utilization rates of health facilities due to abortions reflect the ongoing difficulties with family planning and contraception. In addition, mortality resulting from abortions serves as an indicator of the quality of abortion procedures, an important point in a country where the practice is illegal and therefore done clandestinely. In this study, we analyzed the rates of mortality resulting from abortions among women 10 to 54 years old, including women who died from spontaneous and induced abortion, from 1980 to 1995, for the various regions of the country. The information we used came from the mortality data bank of the public health system of the Ministry of Health. Population data were obtained from the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics. We studied 2 602 deaths, 15% of which were due to missed abortion, spontaneous abortion, or legally permitted induced abortion. The other 85% of the deaths were due to illegal induced abortions or to nonspecified abortions. The mortality rates from abortion-related causes have steadily decreased in all the regions of Brazil, but this improvement has been unevenly distributed in the country. The region with the smallest decrease in this rate (38% over 15 years) was the Northeast. The age of women dying from abortions progressively declined over the period studied.