Postabortion Care: 20 Years of Strong Evidence on Emergency Treatment, Family Planning, and Other Programming Components

Twenty years of postabortion care (PAC) studies yield strong evidence that:

  • Misoprostol and vacuum aspiration are comparable in safety and effectiveness for treating incomplete abortion.
  • Misoprostol, which can be provided by trained nurses and midwives, shows substantial promise for extending PAC services to secondary hospitals and primary health posts.
  • Postabortion family planning uptake generally increases rapidly–and unintended pregnancies and repeat abortions can decline as a result–when a range of free contraceptives, including long-acting methods, are offered at the point of treatment; male involvement in counseling–always with the woman’s concurrence–can increase family planning uptake and support.