Induced abortion: incidence and trends worldwide from 1995 to 2008

Data of abortion incidence and trends are needed to monitor progress toward improvement of maternal health and access to family planning. To date, estimates of safe and unsafe abortion worldwide have only been made for 1995 and 2003. The study used the standard WHO definition of unsafe abortions. Safe abortion estimates were based largely on official statistics and nationally representative surveys. Unsafe abortion estimates were based primarily on information from published studies, hospital records, and surveys of women. Additional sources and systematic approaches to make corrections and projections as needed where data were misreported, incomplete, or from earlier years were used. We assessed trends in abortion incidence using rates developed for 1995, 2003, and 2008 with the same methodology. We used linear regression models to explore the association of the legal status of abortion with the abortion rate across sub regions of the world in 2008.

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