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In countries where ABORTIONS are legal and widely available..

Posted by on Apr. 19, 2010 at 10:48 PM
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In countries where abortions are legal and widely available.. and where health care is affordable and easily accessable.. abortion rates are LOWEST.

In countries where abortions are illegal or have many ristrictions.. and where health care isn't affordable or easily accessable.. abortion rates are HIGHEST.


This info is from 1999 but I thought it was interesting.


Each year, an estimated 500,000 women die of pregnancy-related causes, and almost all maternal mortality occurs in developing countries, representing one of the widest, and most unjust, health gaps between developed and developing nations.

Of the 500,000 annual maternal deaths, complications from unsafe abortion account for approximately 70,000, or 13 per cent, of all deaths.

An examination of statistical trends reveals in many countries where the procedure is illegal, women obtain abortions at very high rates. Similarly, in many countries where abortion is legal and very widely accessible, abortion rates are low.

There will always be women who will seek an abortion regardless of its legal status—even if they have to jeopardize their lives by undergoing an unsafe, illegal procedure.

A major report, Sharing Responsibility: Women, Society and Abortion Worldwide, brings together the latest research findings from approximately 60 nations about abortion law, the incidence of abortion and the conditions under which abortion occurs around the world.

Women in many developing countries do not have access to the contraceptive supplies or family planning services they need, because contraceptives are too expensive, supplies are erratic, services are difficult or impossible to obtain, or the quality of care is poor.

Whether couples are successful in preventing unplanned pregnancies depends not only on their having reliable access to family planning services but also on how effectively they practice contraception. However, all contraceptive methods have drawbacks. Some have inherently high failure rates, while others are difficult for women (or their partners) to use on a consistent basis.

Access to affordable health care, poverty, abuse, addiction, and health issues also play a large roll in the high rates of abortions. Specifically, countries where all or most health care services are free or government funded tend to have lower abortion rates. This could be due to several reasons: women and families not having to worry about how they can afford prenatal/postnatal care and health care expenses for a new child for the next 16-21 years, easy access to many forms of birth control, regular doctor visits giving broader personal knowledge of one's own health, among other things.

Each year, more than half of unintended pregnancies worldwide—46 million, or two in 10 total pregnancies—are resolved by induced abortion. Throughout the world, women give similar reasons for deciding to have an abortion: They are too young or too poor to raise a child; they are estranged from or on uneasy terms with their sexual partner; they are unemployed; they do not want a child while in school; or they want or need to work. That women's reasons for choosing abortion are similar around the world highlights the common experiences women face when trying to juggle competing roles and responsibilities while adapting to changing social expectations.

Indeed, women have relied on abortion to end unwanted pregnancies throughout history and in every region of the world, even though abortion was illegal in almost every country until the second half of this century. By the mid-1980s, most developed countries and several developing countries had lifted these prohibitions, but the legal status of abortion remains highly variable.

20 million abortions performed annually worldwide occur in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws. At the same time, abortion rates are quite low where the procedure is legal and widely available.

In countries where contraceptives have become much easier to obtain in recent years, abortion rates fell by as much as 50% between 1990 and 1996.

When abortion occurs under legal conditions, it is usually performed early in pregnancy by a skilled practitioner using an accepted medical or surgical method in a hygienic setting; in such circumstances, the risk of complications and maternal morbidity is low. However, when abortion is largely illegal and must be performed clandestinely, it often is unsafe; in such situations, complication rates and maternal morbidity skyrocket.

The death rate associated with abortion is hundreds of times higher in developing regions, where the procedure is often illegal, than in developed countries

The World Health Organization estimates that of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths each year, 78,000 are related to complications resulting from unsafe abortion. In Latin America, as many as 21% of maternal deaths are estimated to be associated with unsafe abortion. Many women experiencing complications from unsafe abortion, particularly those who live in rural areas, do not have access to appropriate medical treatment. Others do not seek treatment because of fear, embarrassment, shame or poverty.

By legalizing abortion, countries can help reduce or eliminate the need for unsafe abortion. This, in turn, will significantly lessen the number of deaths related to abortion, reduce the likelihood of complications and improve women's subsequent health. For example, when Romania legalized abortion in 1990, its abortion-related mortality rate fell to one-third of its peak level—reached only one year before—of 142 deaths for every 100,000 live births.

Even in countries where abortion is legal under broad circumstances, the law may impose restrictions that impair a woman's ability to obtain a safe and timely abortion, increasing the chance of adverse health consequences. For example, the need for permission from a husband or parent, mandatory counseling requirements and waiting periods, or the need to locate or travel to an authorized provider may mean that abortions are performed later in a pregnancy than they otherwise would be. 

Ultimately, women the world over seek abortions for the same reason: because they have an unintended pregnancy. How such a pregnancy is resolved has been, and always will be, an individual decision, despite the law. But ensuring that whatever decision a woman makes will not harm her health and providing her the means to reduce the likelihood of experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in the first place (sexual and reproductive education and contraception education and availability) are what actually REDUCES unwanted pregnancies. Simply making abortions illegal or difficult to obtain will not.


Sharing Responsibility: Women, Society and Abortion Worldwide, New York: AGI, 1999.

Family Planning Perspectives, 1999

by on Apr. 19, 2010 at 10:48 PM
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