Nearly half of pregnancies in world unintended, access to contraceptives must improve: UN report

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Mar 30, 2022, 07:15 PM(IST)

Russia withdraws from UNWTO ahead of vote on its suspension Photograph:( Twitter )

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The UNFPA said the report was not about "unwanted babies or happy accidents", but how a combination of gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence, and lack of access to contraception and abortion robbed women of "the most life-altering reproductive choice -- whether or not to become pregnant"

The United Nations reproductive health agency said on Wednesday that nearly half of all pregnancies in the world were unintended.

The agency said that out of 121 million unintended pregnancies every year, more than 60 per cent end in abortion, said United Nations Population Fund in new report.

The UNFPA said the report was not about "unwanted babies or happy accidents", but how a combination of gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence, and lack of access to contraception and abortion robbed women of "the most life-altering reproductive choice -- whether or not to become pregnant".

The war in Ukraine and other conflicts are expected to drive the "staggering" number of unintended pregnancies even higher as sexual violence increases and contraception access is disrupted, the report said.

"We have heard stories from pregnant women who knew that nutritionally they weren't going to be able to support their pregnancy" in Ukraine, UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem said.

"There are also predators and traffickers and examples of people who are seeing the tragedy of war as an opportunity to target women and girls," she told AFP.

She said studies estimated that more than 20 percent of displaced women worldwide experience sexual violence -- "and I would bet that is under-reported because there is so much stigma around the issue."

While figures are still sparse a month into the Ukraine war, she said that the conflict in Afghanistan was expected to lead to 4.8 million unintended pregnancies by 2025.

And the Covid-19 crisis has also hugely disrupted healthcare and contraceptive supplies, leading to up to 1.4 million unintended pregnancies in the first year of the pandemic alone, the UNFPA said.

(With inputs from agencies)
 

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