An unseen crisis: nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended

by Seema Jalan, United Nations Foundation
MARCH 30, 2022

A new report from UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, features a staggering statistic: Nearly half of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended. “For the women affected, the most life-altering reproductive choice — whether or not to become pregnant — is no choice at all,” says UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem.

UNFPA is sounding the alarm on a human rights crisis that has ramifications for women, societies, and the world in light of its 2022 State of World Population report, Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy, which estimates there are 121 million unintended pregnancies each year. The report builds on new data from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization (WHO) that outlines the first-ever estimates of unintended pregnancy and abortion at the country level, highlighting major disparities across 150 countries in access to quality sexual and reproductive health care.