Unsafe abortion is the only cause of maternal death that is almost entirely preventable, and it is not technically difficult to prevent. But the barriers to safe care are highly political. Making sure that all women have access to family planning – a sub-goal of MDG 5 – will dramatically reduce unplanned pregnancies that cause women to seek abortions. For this reason, all maternal health initiatives must make access to contraception a priority. However, we also must ensure access to safe abortion services. Even if contraception is available, it is not 100 percent effective. Moreover, women’s health and family circumstances can change dramatically during the course of a wanted pregnancy. To prevent tens of thousands of maternal deaths every year, abortion services must always be safe whenever they are needed.