Estimates indicate the U.S. abortion rate is lower than average compared to the rest of the world but higher than in parts of Europe and Africa, according to a 2012 study.
According to The Economist, tracking abortion
rates is no easy task, as some countries under-report them and others do not track them at all.
The Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based population research organization that supports abortion, published a paper in 2012 that used a range of sources to estimate the number of abortions carried out worldwide in 2008. The institute had previously been involved in making similar estimates for 1995 and 2003.
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According to the Guttmacher Institute
, the United States abortion rate in 2008 was 19.6 per 1,000 women ages 15-44.
A chart on page 22 of the institute's 25-page study released in 2012 estimated that worldwide, abortion rates per 1,000 women in that age range fell to 28 percent in 2008 from 29 percent in 2003. The organization estimated 2008 abortion rates by region were:
- 43 percent in Eastern Europe
- 39 percent in the Caribbean
- 38 percent in Eastern Africa
- 36 percent in Middle Africa and Southeast Asia
- 32 percent in South America
- 29 percent in Central America
- 28 percent in Western Africa and Eastern Asia
- 26 percent in Western Asia and South-central Asia
- 19 percent in North America, including the U.S.
- 18 percent in Southern Europe and Northern Africa
- 17 percent in Southern Europe and Oceana
- 15 percent in Southern Africa
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- 12 percent in Western Europe
The U.S. abortion rate subsequently fell to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2011, according to a study released in 2014 by the Guttmacher Institute
The 2012 Guttmacher study concluded laws that restrict abortion did not seem to lower the number of procedures, with restrictive laws actually being associated with higher rates.
According to The New York Times
, the 2007 study Guttmacher had conducted in association with the Geneva-based World Health Organization estimating abortion rates for 2003, concluded abortion rates were similar in countries where it was legal and those where it was not, which suggested outlawing the procedure did little to deter women seeking it.
But anti-abortion groups criticized the Guttmacher research, saying the scientists jumped to conclusions from imperfect tallies, often using estimates of abortion rates in countries where the procedure was illegal, reports The New York Times.
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