The state of global abortion data: an overview and call to action

Anna Popinchalk, Guttmacher Institute Cynthia Beavin, Guttmacher Institute Jonathan Bearak, Guttmacher Institute

First published on BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health:

Abstract / Summary

Abortion, an experience shared by tens of millions of people around the world, is an important component of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care. Data on abortion incidence is needed to examine disparities in people’s ability to safely terminate a pregnancy. Abortion, however, is legally restricted in much of the world and often stigmatised regardless of legal status, making it challenging to measure and document. This contributes to disparities in understanding the SRH needs of people in different contexts around the world.

Due to the difficulty in measuring abortion, we developed model-based estimates following a clear and transparent protocol.These estimates utilised all global data on the number of abortions by country by year. While these are the most comprehensive estimates currently available, our data collection and research underscored that empirical data on abortion incidence are scarce and of variable quality. To address these gaps, there is an urgent need for investing in robust abortion data collection systems and research.