The report, Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress, said abortions fell from an estimated 45.5 million in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003. The decline came alongside a global trend toward liberalizing abortion laws. Nineteen countries have reduced abortion restrictions since 1997, while only three have increased them.
This trend "is fundamentally good news - the world is moving in the right direction," said Sharon Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. However, more than 40 percent of the world's women still live in countries with highly restrictive abortion laws, virtually all in the developing world, she added. "Legal restrictions do not stop abortion from happening, they just make the procedure dangerous."
The new report makes three key recommendations:
- Expand access to modern contraceptives and improve family planning services.
- Expand access to legal abortion and ensure that safe and legal abortion services are available to women in need.
- Improve the coverage and quality of postabortion care, which would reduce maternal death and complications from unsafe abortion.