- About 215 million women worldwide have unmet contraceptive needs. Women have various reasons for not wanting to become pregnant. Some wish to delay having children while some wish not to be parents at any point. Many women are parents already but feel they cannot expand their families.
- 42 million abortions are performed every year. 20 million of these abortions are unsafe or illegal. Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and nearly all of these procedures (98%) occur in developing countries.
- Unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. An estimated 47,000 women die each year due to unsafe abortion, which accounts for an estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide. This is one woman every ten minutes. 5 million women are hospitalized each year due to complications from unsafe abortion. Almost all abortion-related deaths occur in developing countries, with the highest number in Africa followed by Asia and Latin America.
- Restrictive laws do not cause any reduction in the amount of abortions performed. Illegality only increases the likelihood that women will resort to unsafe services, putting their lives in danger.
- Deaths and suffering of women due to lack of access to abortion and contraception are completely preventable.
HUMAN RIGHTS and SOCIAL JUSTICE:
- Women have the right to decide freely and responsibly whether and when to have children without coercion, discrimination or violence.
- Access to safe abortion and contraception is a matter of social justice. Young, poor and unmarried women are disproportionately affected by lack of access and lack of information. Health, justice and safety should never be determined by social or economical status.
- Lack of access to safe abortion and contraception is a violation of human rights. Those rights include the right to life, the right to non-discrimination, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, the right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, the right to privacy and confidentiality, and the right to health information and education. Many human rights treaties and recommendations of United Nations, European Union and World Health Organization clearly and increasingly advise that abortion should be kept safe and legal. When governments deny this basic woman’s right they tolerate and enforce structural violence against women. Most counties with severe abortion laws are in the Global South, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- Available research shows that contraception has a striking impact on the lives of women in terms of both improved survival and empowerment. Without access to family planning, women are trapped in a vicious cycle that inhibits their full participation in socioeconomic development. Two key social benefits of contraception are women’s empowerment and education, both of which are Millennium Development Goals.
See video: Abortion Worldwide