The World of Abortion in Data

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  • Request
  • Considering socioeconomic grounds
  • Permitted to protect a woman‘s mental health, as well as her life and physical health
  • Permitted to protect a woman‘s life and physical health and sexual violence.
  • Permitted only to save a woman‘s life, or the procedure is banned.
What we know

Abortion Worldwide

Globally, there is no official data. Most of the data collected is based on estimations. However, there are some things we do know by looking at all available sources:

  • Abortion rates are not lower in countries where abortion is restricted
  • The number of abortions is underreported
  • In restrictive countries the rates of unintended pregnancy are higher

Percentage of unintended pregnancies that end up in abortion in 2015–19

Abortion Data & Barriers​

How Abortion Data is obtained

The data regarding abortion is normally obtained for academic studies, official statistics, and NGOs. Nevertheless, the data is not complete because of the context around abortion.

The Problem: Facing the Abortion Data Gap

Legality and restrictions

The restrictions around abortion creates silence and fear to report. As well, people who report can be punished.

Different types of reporting

There are not global guides in how to collect abortion data. Each country and state collect what is available and important for the local setting.

Lack of budget

The cost to improve data systems was estimated to be $13.5 to $14.2 billion between 2016 to 2030.

Abortion stigma

The abortion stigma creates a culture of silence about this practice.

Most of the data considers only women and girls.

Abortion is health care services that can be needed by all people with uterus

Abortions practiced in private clinics.

In some countries abortion is practiced in private clinics that don't have the need to report these procedures to any institution.

Abortion can be registered under other names.

The stigma and silence abortion abortion leads to register this medical service, as other procedure, example: menstrual regulation procedure in Bangladesh.

The Solution: Statistical Models

 Solving this issue has been a task for many researchers and scholars. Most of them have worked on creating statistical models that help to estimate the incidence of abortions.  

Using these models,  it possible to know 


Abortion rate per 1000 women aged between 15–49 years 2005-2019


Alkema, L., 2020. Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990–2019. Lancet Glob. Health 8, e1152–e1161. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30315-6

Sedgh, G., Henshaw, S., Singh, S., Ahman, E., Shah, I.H., 2007. Induced abortion: estimated rates and trends worldwide. Lancet Lond. Engl. 370, 1338–1345. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61575-X

October 2020, K.R.// 01, 2020. Gender data: How expensive is it, really? [WWW Document]. Devex. URL https://www.devex.com/news/sponsored/gender-data-how-expensive-is-it-really-98193 (accessed 11.9.21).

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