Poverty, a low level of education, working conditions, but also violence and coercion are among the main factors in this phenomenon. But they’re not the only ones: the report also looks at the reasons that might explain why some women don’t use birth control. Lack of access to information no longer seems to be the main cause. This lack of contraceptives can also have many other causes. For example, some women shy away from using contraceptives because of concerns about possible side effects or poor contraceptive experiences, sometimes low frequency of sexual intercourse, and pressure and objections from those around them.
In addition to poverty and delays in economic development, one point is singled out: gender inequality, which leads to high rates of unwanted pregnancies.
All of these are factors that demonstrate the societal pressures placed on women and girls to become mothers. An unwanted pregnancy is not necessarily a personal failure and can be explained by a lack of social autonomy or the appreciation of women’s lives, according to the UN info page.
It is estimated that more than 257 million women worldwide are not using safe and effective methods of birth control. 172 million of them simply do not use contraceptives.
Consequence: More than 60% of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion, 45% of abortions are non-medical and cause 5% to 13% of maternal deaths. The annual cost of complications from unsafe abortions is estimated at $553 million.
“Restrictive abortion laws in low- and middle-income countries have not been shown to reduce abortion utilization. But in high-income countries with more liberal abortion laws, a significantly lower number of unwanted pregnancies led to abortions‘ say the authors of the report.
For the women involved, the choice to bear life, which is likely to permanently upset their existence, is not a real one.
Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA
“This report sounds alarm said Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of UNFPA. The appalling number of unwanted pregnancies demonstrates the inability of the international community to ensure respect for the human rights of women and girls.”
“For the women involved, the choice to carry life, which is likely to change their lives for a long time, is not a real choice. By directly entrusting women and girls with the power to make this absolutely necessary choice, society can make motherhood an aspiration, not a doom,” she adds.
Seizures: risk factors for unwanted pregnancies
Crises and conflicts rob women of their ability to act at all levels. The war in Ukraine, as well as other conflicts and crises around the world, could therefore lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancies due to a disruption in access to contraceptives and an increase in sexual violence. Regarding Ukraine, data on the safety and sexual health of refugees is still missing, but according to Natalia Kanem, almost 250,000 women were pregnant at the beginning of the war
It is estimated that wars and health system disruptions in Afghanistan could result in 4.8 million unwanted pregnancies by 2025.
The report shows how easily the most basic rights of women and girls are sidelined in times of peace and war.
This crisis is partially invisible because it is extremely common.
“When almost half of pregnancies are unwanted, it gives us an alarming picture of the neglect of women’s reproductive freedom.emphasizes Natalia Kanem, This crisis is partially invisible because it is extremely common. Almost everyone knows a woman who has had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.”