New Study Reports on Abortion Rates Worldwide

gsedgh2015A new study led by Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute in New York with colleagues at the World Health Organization, the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and the University of Massachusetts, tracked abortion trends worldwide between the years 1990 and 2014. The study found that abortion rates declined significantly in the developed world but stayed about the same in developing countries.

Specifically, there were 35 abortions per 1,000 women worldwide between 2010 and 2014. This was down from a rate of 40 abortions per 1,000 women in the 1990 to 1994 period. But due to overall population growth the number of abortions increased by 5.9 million annually worldwide between the two time periods.

In the developed world the abortion rates dropped from 46 per 1,000 women to 27 per 1,000 women since 1990. But in developing countries the abortion rate declined, but by an amount researchers said was not significant.

Overall, the study found that 73 percent of all abortions worldwide were obtained by women who were married.

The researchers concluded that “investments are needed to meet women and couples’ contraceptive needs, especially in the developing world, where abortion rates are high and many abortions are unsafe. Reliable estimates of abortion incidence in the developing world are scarce and additional research in this area is needed to improve our ability to monitor trends in this region.”

Dr. Sedgh is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The study, “Abortion Incidence Between 1990 and 2014: Global, Regional, and Subregional Levels and Trends,” was published on the website of the journal The Lancet. It may be accessed here.

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