Abortion Law: Global Comparisons
A recent spate of state laws to restrict abortion services in the United States has reignited debate over the procedure. How does the United States’ regulation of abortion compare to the rest of the world?
by Rachel B. Vogelstein and Rebecca Turkington
July 15, 2019
The past fifty years have been characterized by an unmistakable trend toward the liberalization of abortion laws, particularly in the industrialized world. Amid ongoing debate over the procedure, the trend has coincided with a drop in abortion rates worldwide. As nations across the globe have expanded the grounds on which women can access reproductive health services, the quality and safety of abortion care has improved, as has maternal survival.
Abortion rates are relatively similar between countries with highly restrictive abortion laws and those where the procedure is permitted without restriction, at between 34 and 37 per 1,000 women annually [PDF], but the safety of the procedure diverges widely: almost 90 percent of abortions in countries with liberal abortion laws are considered safe, compared with only 25 percent of those in countries in which abortion is banned.
A human health project
Empowering women to make reproductive choices and opt for quality family planning services can help India not only address the fertility challenge but fulfill the ICPD pledge
Friday, 12 July 2019
Ever since 1989, July 11 is observed as the World Population Day to draw attention to issues surrounding human population. The urgent need to provide an enabling environment to facilitate women’s autonomy in reproductive decisions was underlined five years later in 1994 at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Here, for the first time, an international agreement, recognising the right to sexual and reproductive health, was signed by 179 countries, including India.
Twenty five years have passed since the historic ICPD Programme of Action. Although India has taken several measures to provide universal access to reproductive health services, including contraceptives, has it really delivered on its promise to give women the right to choose when, if and how many children to have?
In Developing Regions, Greater Investment Is Needed to Help Adolescents Prevent Unintended Pregnancy
Nov 9, 2018
20 Million Adolescent Women Have an Unmet Need for Modern Contraception
Ensuring that adolescent women are able to choose whether and when to have children is crucial to their sexual and reproductive health, yet new data published today by the Guttmacher Institute show that contraceptive services in developing regions fall short of meeting adolescents’ needs. The new data, published in a series of fact sheets, indicate that as of 2017, an estimated 36 million young women aged 15–19 in developing regions are married or sexually active and want to avoid becoming pregnant in the next two years. Yet the majority of this group—20 million adolescents—are not using a modern contraceptive method and thus have an unmet need for modern contraception. Most adolescent women with unmet need are using no contraceptive method (85%), while the remaining 15% are using traditional methods, such as withdrawal or periodic abstinence, which are less effective than modern methods.
‘Reduce Stigma To Make Women Comfortable Accessing Safe Abortions’
August 7, 2018
New Delhi: Abortion was legalised in India almost half a century ago, yet unsafe abortions – performed in unhygienic conditions by untrained providers – are the third largest cause of maternal death. Nearly 78% of the more than 15 million abortions conducted annually in India are outside of health facilities, giving rise to safety concerns. There is only one licensed provider for 224,000 women in rural areas.
India allows medical termination of a pregnancy of up to 20 weeks’ gestation to be conducted by a registered medical practitioner. There have been attempts to amend the act to expand the provider base to include nurses and non-allopathic medicine practitioners, and extend the deadline to 24 weeks from the current 20.