Family planning progress

Abortions down, contraceptives up worldwide

Contraceptive use is up worldwide, and with that has come a decline in abortions and unintended pregnancies, according to a report by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute. Between 1995 and 2003, the number of abortions performed worldwide fell from 45.5 million to 41.6 million. The global rate of abortions fell as well: from 35 abortions for every 1,000 women of reproductive age (15-44) in 1995, to 29 per 1,000 women in 2003. The decline corresponds with a growth in contraceptive use worldwide. The proportion of married women practising contraception rose from 54 per cent in 1990 to 63 per cent in 2003, Guttmacher reports. Unmarried, sexually active women are also more likely to be using contraception. The report found that the incidence of abortion does not correlate to its legal status. Legal or not, abortions take place at roughly equal rates. Illegal abortions, however, entail significant safety issues—especially in developing countries.

The Christian Science Monitor

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