Abortion Worldwide 2017: Uneven Progress and Unequal Access

Abortion Worldwide 2017: Uneven Progress and Unequal Access

Global rates of both unintended pregnancy and abortion have declined over the last twenty-five years and the procedure has become safer, a report from the Guttmacher Institute finds. According to the report, Abortion Worldwide 2017: Uneven Progress and Unequal Access (HTML or 68 pages, PDF), there were sixty-two unintended pregnancies per thousand women between the ages of 15 and 44 in 2000-04, of which thirty-five ended in abortion, compared with seventy-four unintended pregnancies per thousand women in 1990-94, of which forty ended in abortion. During the same period, the abortion rate  in developed regions fell from forty-six out of sixty-four unintended pregnancies per thousand women to twenty-seven out of forty-five, while in developing regions the rate remained steady. But even as unintended pregnancies fell from seventy-seven per thousand women to sixty-five, the number of abortions declined only slightly, from forty per thousand women to thirty-six. The study also found that Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of both unintended pregnancy and abortion, and that countries with restrictive laws against abortion and those without such laws have similar rates of abortion. The report further notes that barriers to reducing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions include high levels of unmet need for modern contraception in many countries; stigma forcing women to seek clandestine abortions, even in countries where it is legal; and inaccessibility to safe contraception methods for low-income and/or rural women.