Global report shows abortion rates falling

October 14, 2009

abortionA new study into global abortion rates was released on Tuesday by the U.S.-based Guttmacher Institute, a think-tank which studies sexual and reproductive health.

Here are some of the main findings:


— The rate of safe abortions dropped between 1995 and 2003 to 15 from 20 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, but unsafe abortions declined only slightly — to 14 from 15 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The overall rate fell to 29 from 35 per 1,000 women.

— Globally around 70,000 women die each year from the effects of unsafe abortions, a figure that has barely changed in the last 10 years. An estimated 8 million women annually experience complications and need medical treatment, but only 5 million actually get that care.

(Photo: Anti-abortion protester in London, 27 Oct 2007/Toby Melville)

— Contraceptive use has increased in many parts of the world, particularly Latin America and Asia, contributing to a decline in the worldwide unintended pregnancy rate to 55 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2008 from 69 per 1,000 in 1995.

— A number of countries in which abortion was highly restricted in the 1990s have now liberalised their laws. Since 1997, 22 countries or administrative areas within countries have changed abortion laws. In 19 of those, restrictions were eased.

* ABORTION NUMBERS: (In millions)

               TOTALS           SAFE           UNSAFE:
            1995    2003    1995    2003    1995    2003
 WORLD      45.5    41.6    25.6    21.9    19.9    19.7
 AFRICA      5.0     5.6    n/a      0.1     5.0     5.5
 ASIA       26.8    25.9    16.9    16.2     9.9     9.8
 CARIBBEAN   4.2     4.1     0.2     0.2     4.0     3.9
 EUROPE      7.7     4.3     6.8     3.9     0.9     0.5
 OCEANIA     0.1     0.1     0.1     0.1     n/a     0.02
 N.AMERICA   1.5     1.5     1.5     1.5     n/a     n/a

Sources: Reuters/Guttmacher Institute

Click here for our news story on this report: Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 a year, harm millions.

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Unsafe abortions kill thousands. Safe abortions kill millions.

Posted by Tim | Report as abusive

The caption is why less abortions now given the law is eased in so many countries surveyed. I attribute this to greenhouse gases leading to an increasingly polluted atmosphere and global warming that somewhat ruin our human fertility. The environment is to blame (or to credit) for less unwanted babies perhaps.

Posted by Rocky | Report as abusive

In addition to expanding access to modern contraceptives, legal abortion, and postabortion care on legal levels, the Religious Institute would like to see the role of religious leaders advocating for these services to increase.

As social, moral and ethical guides in their communities, religious leaders need to advocate for the rights of the 70,000 women who die each year because of illegal, unsafe abortions. To read more about the Religious Institute’s reaction, read our Executive Director, Rev. Debra Haffner’s blog at: ity-and-religion

Posted by Debra Haffner | Report as abusive

@tim, do you realize that without the availiblity of safe, legal abortions, women around the world have been forced to put themselves in a dangerous, and overall avoidable situations. if a woman wants an abortion,the fetus will still die in the end. and if, the abortion will still be done anyway, why can’t we still ahere to giving women the possiblity of a safe abortion. saving one life instead of losing two

Posted by clay | Report as abusive

The fact that 70,000 women die every year, and 220,000 children are orphaned, due to unsafe abortion is nothing short of a scandal. If we cared enough about the world’s women to ensure that they have 1) access to family planning services when they want to avoid getting pregnant, 2) access to safe, legal abortion services when they aren’t able to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, 3) access to treatment in the event of complications arising from an abortion, virtually all of these deaths would not happen. That’s a roundabout way of saying that we can END unsafe abortion if we just committed to doing it.

Posted by jon | Report as abusive

Your headline to to “Die For’!

Unsafe abortions kill 70,000 – shouldn’t that really be 140,000 because the larger number includes the babies that were killed by their mothers too. And “millions of others harmed” should also include the millions of babies “harmed”. This heasline shows more about Reuters attitude and slate toward pro-abortion policies and anything i have ever seen – or hope to ever see.

Posted by Brad Wiewel | Report as abusive

Well, Brad, that depends on whether the child fits the definition of being alive or not.

And at this point, there are multiple points of view in that regard. Yours is only as valid as the next.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive


Job 31:15
15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ecc 11:5
5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

We live in a society save the whale and kill the baby
sad isn’t it

Posted by Dominick from | Report as abusive

I’m tired of all this coddling of people who have thoughts and feelings. A red blood cell in a blood bank is human, and it’s alive, so it’s a human life. Do you know how many billions of them are burned alive every month, just because they can’t be exploited anymore? We need to dedicate all of our voices and resources to this holocaust!

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive