Reproductive Justice

19 de April, 2023

Maternal deaths due to abortion among adolescents in Piauí, Brazil (Mortes maternas por aborto entre adolescentes no Piauí, Brasil), 2019.

This article analyzes maternal deaths of adolescents in the state of Piauí, Brazil, and describes the stories of those who died from induced abortions between 2008 and 2013. The study was conducted in two stages. During the first one, a quantitative stage, we obtained demographic data and basic causes of deaths from the Mortality Information System. In the second stage, a qualitative one, the mothers of the adolescents were interviewed. Adolescents’ deaths accounted for 17.2% (50 cases) of total maternal deaths. The majority of the adolescents lived in rural towns (78%) and were black (70%). The causes of death were hypertensive disorders (28%), puerperal infection (16%), hemorrhage (12%), thromboembolism (12%) and abortion (10%). The use of medication occurred in all cases of abortion, with abundant bleeding and pelvic pain being the main reasons for seeking hospital care. There were delays in diagnosis and appropriate treatment of abortion complications, which may have contributed to the death of the adolescents. Maternal deaths among adolescents were mostly caused by conditions which could have been prevented. The stories of young women who died of abortion complications have highlighted the need for readily available health care, as well as laws and public policies that protect women who decide to terminate their pregnancies.

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