Each year, nearly 22 million women worldwide have an unsafe abortion, almost all of which occur in developing countries. This paper estimates the incidence and rates of unsafe abortion by five-year age groups among women aged 15-44 years in developing country regions in 2008. Forty-one per cent of unsafe abortions in developing regions are among young women aged 15-24 years, 15% among those aged 15-19 years and 26% among those aged 20-24 years. Among the 3.2 million unsafe abortions in young women 15-19 years old, almost 50% are in the Africa region. 22% of all unsafe abortions in Africa compared to 11% of those in Asia (excluding Eastern Asia) and 16% of those in Latin America and the Caribbean are among adolescents aged 15-19 years. The number of adolescent women globally is approaching 300 million. Adolescents suffer the most from the negative consequences of unsafe abortion. Efforts are urgently needed to provide contraceptive information and services to adolescents, who have a high unmet need for family planning, and to women of all ages, with interventions tailored by age group. Efforts to make abortion safe in developing countries are also urgently needed.
Copyright © 2012 Reproductive Health Matters. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.