What are abortion rates like globally, and how about the trends? According to joint research by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute, things are changing. Abortion rates had been dropping between 1995 and 2003, but that decline is now "stalling", they say. In other words, abortion rates are not declining any longer. What's more, a bigger percentage of global abortions is occurring in developing countries, where they may not be safe.
The study was led by Gilda Sedgh, a senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, and published in the Lancet medical journal. Here are some of the team's findings:Abortion rates dropped between 1995 and 2003, as determined by a previous study, from 35 women (between 15 and 44 years of age) per 1,000 to 29. In 2008, the abortion rate was at 28 women per 1,000, globally. A larger percentage of global abortions are now characterized as unsafe in 1995, it was 44 percent, and by 2008, this figure had risen to 49 percent. Unsafe abortions are carried out by people who are not skilled, or in unhygienic conditions. The rate of abortions may have fallen by one percent, but more actual abortions were carried out in 2008 than in 2003. A total of 43.6 million (!!!) documented abortions happened in 2008, up from 41.6 million in 2003. The number of abortions taking place in developed countries has fallen, while the abortion rate has risen in developing countries. This was alarming to the research team, which was concerned about the safety of abortions in developing countries. According to the study team, there is a strong correlation between access to contraception and abortion rates. In Australia and Oceania, the abortion rate was lowest at 19 per 1,000 women. In Eastern Europe, there were 43 abortions for every 1,000 women, and 32 out of 1,000 in South America. Interestingly enough, countries where abortions are legal and easily accessible through safe abortion clinics had lower rates of actual abortions.