That, at least, is the conclusion of a report published this week by Human Rights Watch.
If it’s accurate, it puts Argentina’s abortion rate at about double the global average of around 20%, according to UN data.
It also almost doubles the 22% rate in the U.S., where about half of all pregnancies are unintended (this figure differs sharply depending on ethnicity).
According to this 2003 study of global abortion rates by The Lancet, Europe has the world’s highest abortion rate.
The Lancet study had this to say:
“There were an estimated 205 million pregnancies (livebirths, spontaneous miscarriages, stillbirths, and induced abortions) worldwide in 2003, of which about 20% ended in induced abortion. In eastern Europe, almost half of all pregnancies ended in induced abortion, whereas in northern America, one in five pregnancies ended in abortion. Even in regions where small proportions of pregnancies end in induced abortion, such as middle and western Africa, about one in ten pregnancies were terminated.”
This week’s Human Rights Watch study, which follows up on a similar one done in 2005, finds that reproductive health options, including access to healthcare and contraceptives, is lacking for many Argentine women and girls.
According to the study: “Until 1985 the sale and use of contraception was entirely prohibited in the country, and politicians and even medical service providers still justify actions that curtail women’s human rights by referring to a century-old maxim, ‘to populate is to govern.’”
Abortion is illegal in Argentina except in the case of rape. About 20% of maternal deaths in Argentina stem from problems related to illegally performed abortions, according to the report.
To see the study, click here.