Even though the right would have you think that there is a massive abortion epidemic, abortions are at their lowest rate yet, dropping “by more than 40 percent over the past 25 years,” according to Slate.
Now, a new report from the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization show that in places where abortions are outlawed and access to contraception is restricted, the number of abortions have stayed consistent.
Earlier this week, a study was published in The Lancet showing evidence that in countries where abortion is illegal or only permitted when the life of the mother is at stake, the average annual abortion rate is 37 for every 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In countries where abortion is legal, the abortion rate is 34 for every 1,000 women in the same age range.
“The obvious interpretation is that criminalizing abortion does not prevent it but, rather, drives women to seek illegal services or methods,” Diana Greene Foster of the University of California said. “But this simple story overlooks the many women who, in the absence of safe legal services, carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”
In the line of logic that most anti-abortion activist seem to miss, lack of access to contraception leads to unintended pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies can lead to more abortions. Those who carry the pregnancy to term are at greater risk of maternal mortality and poverty that comes with raising a growing family.
The study also looked at separate developing countries and found that between 1990 and 2014 in Eastern Europe, the abortion rate fell from 46 to 27 per every 1,000 women. Within the past 25 years with contraception becoming easier to obtain, the rate fell from 88 per 1,000 women to 42.
“In developed countries, the continued fall in abortion rates is largely due to increased use of modern contraception that has given women greater control over the timing and number of children they want,” author Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute said in a press statement. “In developing countries, however, family planning services do not seem to be keeping up with the increasing desire for smaller families. More than 80 percent of unintended pregnancies are experienced by women with an unmet need for modern methods of contraception, and many unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.”
Featured image: Blink Ofanaye (Flickr)