Worldwide, the unintended pregnancy rate has declined and the proportion of married women and sexually active single women using contraception has increased. But contraceptive use varied greatly among regions. About one in four married African women have an unmet need for contraception, and 92 percent of African women live under highly restrictive abortion laws.
According to the report, abortion occurs at equal rates in regions with liberal abortion laws and regions with tight restrictions. But where abortion is illegal or highly restricted, unsafe abortion continues wreak havoc on women’s health and lives. Unsafe abortion causes approximately 70,000 deaths each year, most in the developing world. Millions more suffer serious complications.
The moral of the story is that contraception and safe, legal abortion saves women’s lives and decrease the number of abortions. Sharon Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, remarked that, “The evidence is strong and growing that empowering women with the means to decide for themselves when to become pregnant and how many children to have significantly lowers unintended pregnancy rates and thereby reduces the need for abortion.”