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  India   Abortions dip in developed nations, but up in developing

Abortions dip in developed nations, but up in developing

Published : May 12, 2016, 1:58 am IST
Updated : May 12, 2016, 1:58 am IST

Abortion rates have declined significantly over the last 25 years in developed countries and are at a historic low.

Abortion rates have declined significantly over the last 25 years in developed countries and are at a historic low.

But in developing countries, where many abortions are unsafe, rates have remained level, highlighting the urgent need for better access to modern contraception to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

 

The new global and regional estimates of abortion incidence from the Guttmacher Institute and WHO, published in The Lancet, estimated that there were 35 abortions per 1,000 women (90 per cent 33-44) aged 15 to 44 years worldwide each year in 2010–14, representing a non-significant five-point decline (–11 to 0) since 1990–94, when the estimated rate was 40 abortions per 1,000 women. Of these, 625 were for countries in Europe, 239 for Asia, 74 for Latin America and the Caribbean, 40 for North America, 40 for Oceania, and 51 for Africa.

According to the study, globally, 25 per cent of pregnancies ended in abortion in 2010-14. In the developed world, the percent of pregnancies ending in abortion declined by 11 points from 39 per cent to 28 per cent, while in the developing world it increased significantly by three points from 21 per cent to 24 per cent.

 

The study revealed that an estimated annual abortion rate in 2010-14 was 36 for all married women and 25 for unmarried women. While married women have higher abortion rates than unmarried women in most sub-regions, this difference is significant in Europe. However, in sub-Saharan Africa and North America, unmarried women have higher abortion rates than married women.

“This difference is significant in western Africa. In the developed world, the abortion rate declined more among married women than among unmarried women,” said the Lancet.

Globally, it was estimated that for the period 2010-14, 27 per cent of abortions were obtained by unmarried women (who represent 35 per cent of all women of reproductive age).

 

Interestingly, when countries were grouped according to the grounds under which abortion was legal, experts did not find evidence that abortion rates for 2010-14 were associated with the legal status of abortion.

Indeed, in countries where abortion is strongly legally restricted, and often performed under unsafe conditions, the incidence of abortion is estimated to be as high as the incidence in countries where it is legal.

Significantly, it is estimated that 6.9 million women in the developing world were treated for complications from unsafe abortion in 2012. During their study, the researchers used a statistical model to estimate levels and trends in abortion incidence for all major world regions and sub-regions from 1990 to 2014.

 

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi