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Access to safe, legal abortion is increasingly seen as an integral part of women’s human rights. It is extensively litigated in the US, where a right to safe legal abortion has evolved, as part of women’s constitutional right to privacy, in the jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court. In many parts of the world, unsafe abortion is a major cause of maternal mortality. Most international human rights instruments, however, do not mention abortion. Access to safe legal abortion, therefore, is discussed in the context of other rights such as the right to life, the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment, and freedom from discrimination.

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