Home News Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended — a global crisis, says...

Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended — a global crisis, says new UNFPA report

The report says that over 60 percent of unintended pregnancies end in abortion and an estimated 45 percent of all abortions are unsafe, causing 5 – 13 percent of all maternal deaths

Nearly half of all pregnancies, totaling 121 million each year throughout the world, are unintended, according to a report released by the UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, this week.

For the women and girls affected, the most life-altering reproductive choice — whether or not to become pregnant — is no choice at all, says the State of World Population 2022 report.

The report titled “Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy,” warns that the “human rights crisis” has profound consequences for societies, women and girls and global health.




It says that over 60 percent of unintended pregnancies end in abortion and an estimated 45 percent of all abortions are unsafe, causing 5 – 13 percent of all maternal deaths, thereby having a major impact on the world’s ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

The war in Ukraine and other conflicts and crises around the world are expected to drive an increase in unintended pregnancies, says the report.

“This report is a wakeup call. The staggering number of unintended pregnancies represents a global failure to uphold women and girls’ basic human rights,” said Dr. Natalia Kanem, UNFPA executive director.

She said that for the women affected, “the most life-altering reproductive choice—whether or not to become pregnant—is no choice at all.”

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“By putting the power to make this most fundamental decision squarely in the hands of women and girls, societies can ensure that motherhood is an aspiration and not an inevitability,” said Kanem.

The report says that globally, an estimated 257 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using “safe, modern methods of contraception, and where data is available, nearly a quarter of all women are not able to say no to sex.”

A range of other key factors also contribute to unintended pregnancies, including:

  • Lack of sexual and reproductive health care and information
  • Contraceptive options that don’t suit women’s bodies or circumstances
  • Harmful norms and stigma surrounding women controlling their own fertility and bodies
  • Sexual violence and reproductive coercion
  • Judgmental attitudes or shaming in health services
  • Poverty and stalled economic development
  • Gender inequality

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