The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday said dangerous methods were used in nearly half of the 55.7 million abortions carried out each year globally.
A WHO study shows that anti-abortion laws raise health risks for women.
According to research by WHO and the Guttmacher Institute, a US reproductive health think-tank, almost all of the 25.5 million unsafe abortions are happening in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
It noted that “the problem is especially acute in 62 countries where women are forbidden to end their pregnancies early, or where they can only do so if their health is at risk.”
According to the research, a quarter of abortions in such countries are conducted with dangerous methods.
It added that in countries where the procedure was legal, the rate was only 10 per cent, based on 2010 to 2014 statistics.
Bela Ganatra, a WHO expert who is the lead author of the study, said when women and girls cannot access effective contraception and safe abortion services, there are serious consequences on their health and that of their families.
“Too many women continue to suffer and die,” she said.
The report distinguished between 17 million abortions each year that are “less safe,” performed by professionals with outdated methods or by laypeople with recommended methods.
It says that in addition, there are eight million “least safe” abortions by untrained people using herbs or non-medical tools.
“Countries must make abortion legal to make them safe,” the WHO said and called for policies that would improve sex education, access to contraception and family planning.