On 20th March 2018, the Guttmacher Institute released a report that highlights the ongoing disparities in abortion rates and access to safe abortion services in developed and developing regions.
Globally, rates of abortion have declined over the past 25 years. However, most of this change occurred in developed regions and abortion rates vary widely among world regions.
Notably, the report demonstrates that abortion rates are similar in countries where abortion is highly restricted and where it is broadly legal. There is also clear link between restrictive environments and the ratio of unsafe procedures. The more restrictive the legal setting, the higher the proportion of abortions that are unsafe.
Every year, 25 million women resort to unsafe procedures and as of 2014, up to 31,000 women die each year worldwide from complications of unsafe abortion. The majority of these women live in developing regions, where abortion is more likely to be restricted.
Responding to the report, Marjorie Newman-Williams, Marie Stopes International’s Vice-President and Director of External Affairs said:
“At a time when we see several governments around the world trying to increase restrictions on women’s access to safe abortion, and in some cases even to contraception, this report is a beacon of common sense. Restricting abortion does not stop women from having them. All it does is drive women to desperate measures, putting their health and lives at risk. Each year, up to 31,000 women die as a result of an unsafe procedure.
“It is vital on this issue that governments are led by the evidence rather than resorting to well-trodden myths and prejudices. Giving people the power to decide the size of their family is an essential component of development, lifting families out of poverty and strengthening security and resilience. Countries can only benefit by accepting that this need exists and providing safe, quality services to meet it.”
You can read the full report here: Abortion Worldwide 2017: Uneven progress and unequal access