An estimated 40 million abortions will take place in the developing world this year. Most of these procedures will be clandestine and unsafe, taking a terrible toll on women’s lives. Every year, 47,000 women die from unsafe abortion and millions more are injured, some seriously and permanently. These deaths and injuries are almost entirely preventable.

To help ensure that the global debate about unsafe abortion and its consequences is informed by facts, the Guttmacher Institute has created a short video presenting key evidence on abortion worldwide.

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The video aims to inform discussions by policymakers, the public and the media about the provision of safe abortion services—making clear that such services are essential to reproductive health care which in turn benefits women, their children and society. The video makes several key points:

  • Women have abortions in all parts of the world and they have them for similar reasons, which include being unable or too poor to care for a child or additional children, not being in a stable relationship, and needing to finish their education.
  • The frequency of abortion has much less to do with its legal status than with levels of unintended pregnancy, the root cause of most abortions. Unintended pregnancy rates have everything to do with whether a woman has access to quality family planning services.
  • The best way to reduce the need for abortion is not by denying women access to safe and legal procedures, but by giving them the power to control their fertility and prevent unintended pregnancy. Today, 222 million women in the developing world want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive.

Reducing the incidence of unsafe abortion is a public health imperative. It is the basic right of every woman to be able to make her own childbearing decisions without having to put her health or her life at risk.

You can watch the video on our YouTube channel. Please consider sharing it with others and tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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