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Missions 101

Abortion Around the World

Jan. 22, 2017By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Abortion is not just a problem in the United States. The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) along with the World Health Organization (WHO) provides data on induced abortion worldwide.

  • The number of induced abortions declined worldwide between 1995 and 2003, from nearly 46 million to approximately 42 million. About one in five pregnancies worldwide end in abortion.
  • For every 1,000 women of childbearing age (15–44) worldwide, 29 were estimated to have had an induced abortion in 2003, compared with 35 in 1995.
  • The decline in abortion incidence was greater in developed countries, where nearly all abortions are safe and legal (from 39 to 26 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44), than in developing countries, where more than half are unsafe and illegal (from 34 to 29).
  • Most abortions occur in developing countries—35 million annually, compared with seven million in developed countries— a disparity that largely reflects the relative population distribution.
  • On the other hand, a woman’s likelihood of having an abortion is similar whether she lives in a developed or developing region; in 2003, there were 26 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in developed countries compared with 29 per 1,000 in developing countries.
  • More than one-third of the approximately 205 million pregnancies that occur worldwide annually are unintended, and about 20% of all pregnancies end in induced abortion.
  • Of the 23 million pregnancies that occur in developed countries, more than 40% are unintended, and 28% end in induced abortion.
  • Of the 182 million pregnancies that occur in developing countries, more than one-third are unintended, and 19% end in induced abortion (8% are safe procedures and 11% are unsafe).

INCIDENCE AND RATES

Global and regional estimates of induced abortion, 1995 and 2003

Region and Subregion

No. of abortions (millions)

Abortion rate*

1995

2003

1995

2003

World

45.6

41.6

35

29

Developed countries

10.0

6.6

39

26

   Excluding Eastern Europe

3.8

3.5

20

19

Developing countries†

35.5

35.0

34

29

   Excluding China

24.9

26.4

33

30

Estimates by region

Africa

5.0

5.6

33

29

Asia

26.8

25.9

33

29

Europe

7.7

4.3

48

28

Latin America

4.2

4.1

37

31

Northern America

1.5

1.5

22

21

Oceania

0.1

0.1

21

17

*Abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44

†Those within Africa, the Americas, excluding Canada and the United States of America, Asia, excluding Japan, and Oceania, excluding Australia and New Zealand

Global and regional estimates of induced abortion, 1995 and 2003

Region and Subregion

No. of abortions (millions)

Abortion rate*

1995

2003

1995

2003

World

45.6

41.6

35

29

Developed countries

10.0

6.6

39

26

   Excluding Eastern Europe

3.8

3.5

20

19

Developing countries†

35.5

35.0

34

29

   Excluding China

24.9

26.4

33

30

Estimates by region

Africa

5.0

5.6

33

29

Asia

26.8

25.9

33

29

Europe

7.7

4.3

48

28

Latin America

4.2

4.1

37

31

Northern America

1.5

1.5

22

21

Oceania

0.1

0.1

21

17

*Abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44

†Those within Africa, the Americas, excluding Canada and the United States of America, Asia, excluding Japan, and Oceania, excluding Australia and New Zealand

 

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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