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Abortion Worldwide : A Decade of Uneven Progress

According to a recent report ‘Abortion Worldwide: A decade of uneven Progress’ published by US based Guttmacher Institute ,only 2 in 5 of the estimated 6.4 million abortions that take place annually in India are safe. The number of women aborting an unwanted child has reduced drastically but the rate of unsafe terminations continues to be bad. Around 41.6 million women underwent abortions in 2003 compared to 45.5 million in 1995.It signifies a drop to 29 per 1000 women from 35.This has failed to reduce the number of unsafe abortions performed which remained flat from 19.9 million to 19.7 million between 1997 and 2003.Such unsafe procedures are also killing 70,000 women a year mostly in developing countries. An additional five million women are treated annually for complications resulting from unsafe abortion.Over 3 million women who experience complications go untreated.

The report says that abortions in Asia declined from 33/1000 women in 1995 to 29/1000 women in 2003.But one in 8 maternal deaths in this region result from unsafe abortions.Over 2.3 million women are hospitalized annually for treatment of complications of unsafe abortions.The proportion of married women using contraception increased from 54% in 1990 to 63% in 2003.South-East Asia recorded the highest abortion rate in 2003-39 /1000.Globally there are an estimated 76 million unwanted pregnancies each year.The annual number of abortions in Asia fell slightly between 1995 and 2003 from 26.8 million to 25.9 million.Of the 26 million abortions performed in 2003 about 16 million were safe and 10 million unsafe procedures.

Unintended pregnancy rate globally has fallen to 55 /1000 women aged 15-44 in 2008 from 69/1000 in 1995.19 countries have significantly reduced restrictions in their abortion laws since 1997 while only 3 countries have increased legal restrictions. Despite these trends 40% of the world’s women live in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws.

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