Abortion rates have plummeted in developed countries but have stayed steady in poor nations, a new study has found.
More specifically, 25 years' worth of data shows that an on the average, about 56 million abortions occurred every year from 2010 to 2014 all over the world.
The findings of the study highlight the issue on the availability of modern contraception strategies such as birth control pills and implants in poor nations.
"Ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health care could help millions of women avoid unintended pregnancies and ensure access to safe abortion," the authors write.
Investigating Abortion Rates
For the study, researchers obtained abortion information from different government offices and collated data from both international and national studies.
After analysis, the team estimated that about 35 abortions occurred every year for every 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44 years from 2010 to 2014. Such rate is five points lower than the 40 abortions recorded from 1990 to 1994.
In relation to the increase in population, the yearly number of abortions in the world also rose from 5.9 million to 56.3 million from 1990 to 1994 and 2010 to 2014, respectively.
All across the world, 73 percent of abortions were noted in married women in 2010 to 2014 - a higher rate compared to unmarried women.
The researchers were not able to see any link between the rates of abortion during 2010 to 2014 and the legalization of abortion.
Abortion In Developed And Developing Nations
For developed countries, the rate of abortion decreased by 19 points, from 46 to 27. For developing nations, the rate of decline was not statistically significant at two points, from 39 to 37.
In the last half-decade, the biggest decline of abortion numbers has been noted in Eastern Europe. The rates also dropped in North America and the whole of Europe.
In Africa, where abortion is widely illegal, the rates remained unchanged, with 34 abortions in every 1,000 women in 2014 to 33 in every 1,000 women in 1990 to 1994.
In a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency found that both pregnancy and abortion rates hit an all-time low in the US.
The new study was published in The Lancet on May 11.