1 of 3 pregnancies unwanted

Popline. 1992 Jan-Feb;14:1.


PIP: UNICEF's 1992 State of the World's Children Report observes that family planning is one of the most effective and least expensive ways of improving quality of life on earth. If all women were able to determine the size and spacing of their families, the report notes, there would be 1.3 billion fewer people in the world by the year 2025. A recent World Fertility Survey underscored the demand for family planning, pointing out that 1/3 of all pregnancies in the world are unwanted. Increased access to family planning services could go a long way toward decreasing maternal and child mortality and improving the quality of life for women and children. Family planning could save the lives of up to 1/3 of the 1/2 million women who die every year from pregnancy and birth related causes. Family planning could also prevent many of the 50,000 illegal abortions which are performed around the world every day, and could decrease the incidence of high risk pregnancies involving women under 18, over 35, or who already have more than 3 children. The report says that women who practice birth control have more time for education, earning income, child care, and leisure. And as parents are able to devote more time and resources to less children, the quality of child care rises. Unfortunately, as UNICEF executive director James P. Grant notes, the benefits of family planning have been obscured by controversy. But as recent experience has demonstrated, family planning can be promoted and practices in a way that is sensitive to the religion and culture of almost any society. The failure to realize the potential of family planning, the report says, is one of the greatest mistakes of our time.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Criminal*
  • Abortion, Induced
  • Birth Intervals*
  • Child Welfare*
  • Contraception*
  • Demography
  • Economics
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Fertility
  • Health
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • International Agencies
  • Maternal Mortality*
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Mortality
  • Organizations
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics
  • Population Growth*
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Research*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Welfare
  • United Nations*