World Health Organization Estimates that 25% of Pregnancies End in Abortion

Over 25% of pregnancies end in abortion on an annual basis, according to new statistics collated by the World Health Organisation.

The authoritative health body partnered with the Guttmacher Institute to produce the research, which has been published in the Lancet.

Over 56 million induced abortions take place daily as well; a figure which is higher than was believed to be the case before the research was published.

Nonetheless, researchers also acknowledge that the rate of abortion has improved in many wealthy nations, pinpointing the problem has one being particularly associated with the Third World.

Indeed, almost no progress has been made in poorer regions of the planet over the last 15 years.

Scientists involved in the study state that the annual number of abortions worldwide increased from 50 million annually from 1990-1994 to 56 million a year between 2010 and 2014.

Abortion has decreased by almost 50% in the developed world over the survey period.

But worryingly high rates remain similar across poorer nations, regardless of the legality of termination.

The report also particularly highlights Latin America, with researchers suggesting that one-third of pregnancies in this locale ultimately end in abortion; higher than any other region of the planet.

A slight increase in abortion rates in Western Europe was attributed to migration from Eastern Europe and further afield.

Education can play a major role in addressing this issue in the future, with scientists involved in the study suggesting that such migrants should be informed of available methods of contraception.

Dr Bela Ganatra, from the WHO, commented that the report is indicative of problems with the distribution of contraception in the developing world.

“The high rates of abortion seen in our study provide further evidence of the need to improve and expand access to effective contraceptive services. Investing in modern contraceptive methods would be far less costly to women and to society than having unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions.”

However, although access to contraceptives can be a major part of the solution to the problem, the report concludes that this is not enough to address this vast issue in and of itself.

The report noted that many women said they chose not to use contraceptives because they were worried about side effects, felt stigmatised or thought there was a low risk they would become pregnant.

Writing in a linked article, Dr Diana Greene Foster, of the University of California, San Francisco, suggested that there couldn’t be a singular silver bullet solution to the problem, no matter how desirable such an one-size-fits-all resolution would be.

Foster indicated that a female-friendly policy was essential going forward.

“That health concerns and dislike of contraceptive side-effects are so common across countries, indicates a need for development of new methods of contraception and a woman-centred approach to contraceptive provision.”

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