The United Nations warns that almost half of all pregnancies worldwide are unwanted

A teenager carries her baby during a psycho-educational session in Santo Domingo de los Colorados (Ecuador), January 17, 2020.

Decide if you want to have a child, when and with whom. This fundamental right, which has been mentioned in many international agreements for the last fifty years, is still a long way from being realised, since every year almost half of the pregnancies are unplanned, ie almost 121 million women affected. Following this worrying observation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has decided to focus on its annual report published on Wednesday 30 March under the title “Seeing the Invisible”. “When almost half of pregnancies are unwanted, it paints an alarming picture of the neglect of women’s reproductive freedom.underlined the executive director of the fund, Natalia Kanem, on Tuesday. This crisis is partially invisible because it is extremely common. Almost everyone knows a woman who had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. »

A reality that is all the more violent in times of crisis, and especially in armed conflicts, when many women lose access to contraception and are at greater risk of sexual violence. Among other recent examples, the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 has exacerbated problems in the supply of contraceptives in certain countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Rwanda or Zambia. This disruption in services would have resulted in 1.4 million additional unplanned pregnancies, according to the commission’s first report to the Nairobi Summit, released in 2021.

Regarding Ukraine, data is still missing to know the security and sexual health conditions of refugees, but nearly 250,000 women were pregnant at the beginning of the war, according to Natalia Kanem, who warns of their deteriorating health care. “Our report shows that these fundamental rights are undervalued in peacetime and undermined in time of conflict”the doctor insists.

Unsafe abortions

In general, the authors of the report estimate that around 257 million women who do not want to have children are not yet using safe and modern contraceptives such as condoms, the pill or the spiral. 172 million of them don’t use it. The problem is less access to contraceptives than the demand from women. According to a Brazilian study conducted in 47 countries and published in the Journal in 2019 reproductive health40.9% of sexually active women do not use any contraception.

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The most common reasons given are the fear of side effects, especially with birth control pills, and less protective sexual intercourse. For married women, third-party resistance is more important, while less educated women or women living in rural areas stressed the lack of access and information. In addition, according to the report, almost a quarter of women cannot refuse a sexual relationship.

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