Abortion is once again in the headlines as Morocco used a war vessel to block a Dutch activist ship which offered abortions in countries where it is illegal from entering its port.
The Guttmacher Institute released an informative video considering the current statistics of unsafe abortion around the world. The video says the highest rates of abortion occur in Latin America and Africa, in countries where abortion is highly restricted, but many women still have unintended pregnancies.
According to Guttmacher, nearly 222 million women in the developing world seek to avoid pregnancy, but have no access to modern contraceptive methods. The institute estimated that if the need for contraceptive methods, services and family planning were met, unintended pregnancies would decline from 80 million to 26 million annually.
Unsafe abortions, conducted by untrained providers or undertaken in unsanitary environments, lead to at least 47,000 women dying from complications each year, Guttmacher estimated.
In January, Guttmacher, partnered with the World Health Organization, released data that showed that unsafe abortions were on the rise, according to ABC News. In the period from 2003 to 2008, the rate of abortion per 1,000 women changed slightly, from 29 per 1,000 to 28 per 1,000. However, the proportion of those that were unsafe abortions rose from 44 percent in 1995 to 49 percent in 2008.
"Before the abortion rate stalled, it was declining, and contraceptive use was increasing. Also more abortions are unsafe because a growing proportion of abortions are taking place in the developing world," said Dr. Gilda Sedgh, lead author of the study and senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute.
When the study was published in January, Richard Horton, the editor of the Lancet medical journal, said the mere mention of the word "abortion" created a backlash against the issue.
"Even under an Obama administration, it is not possible to have an open discussion about abortion in international agencies and commissions. This stigmatization, this censorship around the issue of abortion, is what is causing the enormous distortion of priorities in women's health today," he said, according to the Guardian.