Researchers said it appears that family planning programs across the globe have not kept pace with the demand, which has continued to increase because of population growth and as more couple want smaller families.
Experts said the key to keeping women safe requires an improvement in the availability of a full range of contraceptive methods to allow women to choose the method that is best for them. Very few countries have complete bans on abortions, but women and families are often unclear of those laws, so public health advocates and policymakers must provide more education that is readily available to women, health care providers and society as a whole.
"When women are dying from unsafe abortions, their families crumble," said Lathrop. "The health of a society can be measured by the health of the women who are the backbone of that society, and when unsafe abortion rates are high, it is a general indication that the public health system is broken.
"Abortion is the single most important global public health issue, and the single most divisive, yet it needn't be," said Lathrop. "It is time that global leaders have an ethical and open conversation addressing access to abortion as a human right and make swift policy changes towards destigmatisation and legalisation of abortion."