Every minute one woman dies from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth; this means that about 529,000 women die every year. In addition, for every woman who dies during childbirth, more suffer injury, infection or disease. Approximately 10 million women are affected each year. Five direct complications account for more than 70% of maternal deaths: haemorrhage (25%), infection (15%), unsafe abortion (13%), eclampsia (very high blood pressure leading to seizures 12%), and obstructed labour (8%). While these are the main causes of maternal death, unavailable, inaccessible, unaffordable, or poor quality care is fundamentally responsible. The effect of this is that over one million children are left motherless each year and these children are 10 times more likely to die within two years of their mothers'' death. The vast majority of maternal deaths could be prevented if women have access to quality family planning services, skilled care during pregnancy, childbirth and the first month after delivery or post-abortion care services and if safe abortion services were permissible.