IRAN – Complications of illegal abortion in the suburbs of Tehran: A 9-year cross-sectional study 

by Roya Rashidpouraie, Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi, Ahmad Shojaei, Saeedeh Saeeditehrani, Mohammadnader Sharifi, Kobra Joodaki, Shahriar Moosavinejad, Mina Rashidpouraei, Ladannaz Zahedi, Ahmad Mashkoori, Bagher Larijani

Journal of Research in Medical Sciences 18 October 2021;26(1):89  FULL TEXT

Background – Illegal abortion is a common way to terminate unintended pregnancy. It may be associated with severe complications and may raise maternal mortality and morbidity rate. Illegal abortion is one of the important concerns in health system. In our study, we consider illegal abortion claims in Medical Council court in the suburbs of Tehran.

Materials and methods – A retrospective study was conducted. Data were extracted from registered judicial complainant cases of illegal abortion in Shahriyar Medical Court, Iran, during 2009-2017.

Results – There were 751 registered claims during 2009-2017. Among them, a total of 95 gynaecological claims were included in the study. Four (4.2%) registered claims were illegal abortion with severe complications such as peritonitis, rupture of uterus, small intestine, rectum, and mesentery perforation*. Three cases had consumed misoprostol (prostaglandin E2) and one case had used prostaglandin E1 before curettage. Misoprostol was also used significantly more frequently than other methods for abortion before curettage (p < 0.05). Minor and short-term complications were not registered.

Conclusion – The feature of claims showed that only severe morbidity and complications were registered in medical court. The definition of illegal abortion as a criminal act can be one of the factors of decreasing of abortion’s complication claims.

PHOTO: UN News, 20 October 2021, © UNICEF/Tapash Paul, Adolescent girls attend a support group discussion on women’s health.

Editor’s Note: The full text of the paper implies that the court cases described were prosecutions for illegal abortion, but this is not clear. Further information would be welcome, considering the new draconian law in Iran that has made not only all abortions but also contraception, sterilisation and other SRHR services illegal. See previous newsletter reports: 26-11-2114-9-1813-10-17