This Friday Ireland faces a historic vote on whether to reform the country's abortion laws, which are among the most restrictive in Europe. Currently, women in Ireland who need an abortion are forced to travel abroad - usually England - or may resort to clandestine termination of their pregnancies.
Worldwide, an estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year, even though abortion is a simple and safe procedure when properly performed. Unsafe abortion occurs most frequently in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Banning abortion does not eliminate the procedure, but it does make abortion more likely to be unsafe.