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Marie Stopes International statement on Guttmacher / WHO study on global abortion trends

Thursday 12 May 2016 Marie Stopes International Press release

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The Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have released a new study comparing global abortion rates between 1990 and 2014. The study found that, while rates of abortion have fallen substantially in the developed world, in the world's poorest countries they have seen no significant change.

A spokesperson for Marie Stopes International said: “While it is heartening to see abortion rates falling in some regions, it is clear that much more needs to be done to expand access to contraception in the world’s poorest countries. It is no coincidence that countries where people find it easy to obtain contraception also have lower rates of abortion. There are currently 225 million women worldwide who don’t want to get pregnant but aren’t using contraception. We need to do much more to expand access to a full range of contraceptive methods, to ensure that every woman who wants to choose the size of her family has that power.

“This study also reinforces the fact that restricting access to abortion makes no significant difference to the number of women who choose to have one. Instead, restrictions make it more likely that women will turn to unsafe practitioners, whose methods range from counterfeit drugs to industrial poisons or wire coathangers. Every 11 minutes, a woman dies from complications related to unsafe abortion. In 2016, this is unacceptable and entirely preventable.

“This study should act as a wakeup call to the international community that we must do more. After liberalisation of trade, expanding access to contraception is the second most productive investment in international development. It is estimated that every $1 invested in this area saves countries $120 in reduced need for infrastructure and social spending. Investing today can benefit women and families for generations to come.”

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Marie Stopes International on +44 (0) 7769 166516, or email

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