Back to Course

Preventing Maternal Mortality: The Role of Safe Abortion

Presented by Biftu Mengesha, MD, MAS (she/her)
University of California, San Francisco


  1. Trends in maternal mortality: 2000-2017: estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group, and the United Nations Population Division. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019.
  2. Say L, Chou D, Gemmill A, Tuncalp O, Moller AB, Daniels J, Gulmezoglu AM, Temmerman M, Alkema L. Global causes of maternal death: a WHO systematic analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2014 Jun; 2(6):e323-33.
  3. OECD Health Data 2020. Roosa Tikkanen et al. Maternal Mortality and Maternity Care in the United States Compared to 10 Other Developed Countries (Commonwealth Fund, Nov, 2020).
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Pregnancy-Related Mortality Surveillance data. Emily Petersen et al “Vital Signs: Pregnancy-Related Deaths, United States 2011-2015, and Strategies for Prevention, 13 States, 2013-2017,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 68 no 18 (May 10, 2018); 423-29.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Emily Petersen et al “Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths – United States, 2007-2016” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 68 no 35 (Sept 6, 2019); 762-65.
  6. Ibis Reproductive Health and Center for Reproductive Rights, “Evaluating Priorities: Measuring Women’s and Children’s Health and Wellbeing against Abortion Restrictions in the States,” (2017).
  7. Hawkind SS, Ghiani M, Harper S, Baum CF, Kaufman JS. Impact of state-lvel changes on maternal mortality: a population-based, quasi-experimental study.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2019.
  8. Rini CK, Dunkel-Schetter C, Wadhwa PD, Sandman CA. Psychological adaptation and birth outcomes: The role of personal resources, stress, and sociocultural context in pregnancy. Health Psychol 1999; 18:33-45.
  9. Medoff MH. The relationship between restrictive state abortion laws and postpartum depression. Soc. Work Public Health. 2014; 29:481-90.
  10. Foster DG, Biggs MA, Raifman S, Gipson J, Kimport K, Rocca CH. Comparison of Health, Development, Maternal Bonding, and Poverty among Children Born after Denial of Abortion vs Pregnancies Subsequent to an Abortion. JAMA Pediatr. 2018; 172: 1053-60.
  11. Susan A Cohen, “Facts and Consequences: Legality, Incidence, and Safety of Abortion Worldwide.” Guttmacher Policy Review 12(4). 2009.