First national estimate of unwanted pregnancies and abortions

The Guttmacher Institute, World Health Organization, and United Nations Special Research Program on Human Reproduction (HRP) today released the first estimates of unintended pregnancy and abortion rates based on models in 150 countries, resulting in large sexual access disparities. Was highlighted. And assisted reproductive technology.

Studies published in the journal BMJ Global HealthAnalyzes rates from 2015 to 2019 with the aim of providing deeper insights into access to sexual and reproductive health services in countries around the world, regardless of income level.

“To design a truly comprehensive and impartial sexual and reproductive health policy, we need to understand what is happening at the national level,” he said.D Herminia Palacio, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Guttmacher Institute. “Having up-to-date and reliable data not only helps identify disparities and find solutions, but also helps advocate smarter investments that impact. »»

In addition to estimates, the Guttmacher Institute provides policy makers and health advocates with a better understanding of their country’s sexual and reproductive health needs, especially in the area of ​​family planning, including contraception and comprehensive abortion. We publish a more detailed country profile to be able to respond to your care.

Regional averages mask unintended pregnancy and large disparities in abortion rates

New estimates show that the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion vary widely from country to country, even within the same or geographical area. The largest fluctuations were found in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, for example, unintended pregnancy rates across the country ranged from 41 to 107 per 1000 women and 49 to 145 per 1000 women.

These disparities are not only affected by income levels. For example, in Europe, most countries with unintended pregnancies above the regional average are classified as high-income, and the two countries with the lowest estimates are classified as medium-income. This finding reflects the existence of barriers to accessing and using effective sexual and reproductive health care in increasingly resource-rich environments.

“These variations show that women and girls in all countries need to invest to be able to choose when they want to have children, even in areas with low unintended pregnancy rates. increase.” Jonathan Bearrack, Principal Investigator at Guttmacher Institute, says And the first author of the article. “The rate of unintended pregnancies ending in abortion reaches 68% even in countries that completely ban abortion, but the will of millions of women and adolescent girls to avoid unintended pregnancies is strong. It shows that it is planned. »»

Estimates can greatly help improve the quality of the available evidence, but more and better evidence is urgently needed. The availability of reliable data on abortion varies widely from region to region, from 12% in West Asia and North Africa to 73% in Europe and North America. Additional investment in national data collection has the potential to generate more robust estimates, track trends and assess the impact of future large programs.

Rights associated with sexual and reproductive health are an important part of universal health insurance and are necessary to end discrimination against women and girls. These country-level estimates further emphasize the importance of equitable investment in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care and further to countries striving to implement new WHO guidelines for sexual and reproductive health services. Provide information. High quality abortion.

“For health, people from countries around the world need access to a comprehensive and accurate set of information and services related to sex education, family planning, and health care.” Quality abortion “. , DD Bella Ganatra, who leads the WHO’s unsafe abortion prevention unit. “This study aims to enhance countries’ life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, especially to support efforts to improve the health of women and girls.


The number and rate of unintended pregnancies and abortions by country, and the rate of these pregnancies ending in abortion, are generated using statistical models. This model incorporates and uses all available data on pregnancy intent and abortion in women of childbearing age collected across the country or region.

About Guttmacher Institute

The Guttmacher Institute is an organization that conducts cutting-edge research and policy activities to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and around the world.

About HRP

UNDP / UNFPA / UNICEF / WHO / World Bank’s Special Program in Human Reproductive Research, Development and Research and Training (HRP) is the primary tool within the United Nations system for research on human reproduction. Policy makers, scientists, healthcare providers, clinicians, consumers and community representatives come together to identify and address research priorities for improving sexual and reproductive health. ..

About who

Founded in 1948, WHO is a United Nations agency that connects countries, partners and people, promotes health, keeps the world safe and serves vulnerable people. This allows anyone in the world to achieve the highest possible level of health.