Legal bans do not significantly reduce abortion rates

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Via BBC:

Restricting the availability of legal abortion does not appear to reduce the number of women trying to end unwanted pregnancies, a major report suggests. The Guttmacher Institute’s survey found abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in regions where it is legal and regions where it is highly restricted.

It did note that improved access to contraception had cut the overall abortion rate over the last decade. But unsafe abortions, primarily illegal, have remained almost static.

The survey of 197 countries carried out by the Guttmacher Institute – a pro-choice reproductive think tank – found there were 41.6m abortions in 2003, compared with 45.5 in 1995 – a drop which occurred despite population increases. Nineteen countries had liberalised their abortion laws over the ten years studied, compared with tighter restrictions in just three.

Every year, an estimated 70,000 women die as a result of unsafe abortion – leaving nearly a quarter of a million children without a mother – and 5m develop complications.

In the developed world, legal restrictions did not stop abortion but just meant it was “exported”, with Irish women for instance simply travelling to Europe, according to Guttmacher’s director, Dr Sharon Camp. In the developing world, it meant lives were put at risk.

“Too many women are maimed or killed each year because they lack legal abortion access,” she said. “The gains we’ve seen are modest in relation to what we can achieve. Investing in family planning is essential – far too many women lack access to contraception, putting them at risk.”

Does Guttmacher conduct this study every year? I reported on a  study that came to similar results a while back. Anyone know if their results have been repeated by…well, by any research facility not funded by abortion legalization lobbyists?

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