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Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 1986 Mar;13(1):19-31.

Role of abortion in control of global population growth.

Abstract

No nation desirous of reducing its growth rate to 1% or less can expect to do so without the widespread use of abortion. This observational study, based on the experience of 116 of the world's largest countries, supports the contention that abortion is essential to any national population growth control effort. The principal findings are: Except for a few countries with ageing populations and very high contraceptive prevalence rates, developed countries will need to maintain abortion rates generally in the range of 201-500 abortions per 1000 live births if they are to maintain growth rates at levels below 1%. The current rate in the USA is 426 abortions per 1000 live births. Developing countries, on the other hand, are faced with a different and more difficult set of circumstances that require even greater reliance on abortion. No developing nation wanting to reduce its growth to less than 1% can expect to do so without the widespread use of abortion, generally at a rate greater than 500 abortions per 1000 live births. Widespread availability of abortion is a necessary but not sufficient condition to achieve growth rates below 1%. A high contraceptive prevalence is essential as well in order to achieve growth rates below 1%. A high contraceptive prevalence is a necessary but not sufficient condition to achieve population growth rates below 1%. A high rate of abortion (generally 201-500 or more abortions per 1000 live births in the developed and greater than 500 abortions per 1000 live births in the developing countries) is essential to achieve growth rates below 1%. The different and more difficult set of circumstances faced by developing countries that will necessitate even higher abortion rates than developed countries includes a young population with resultant rapidly growing numbers of young fertile women, poor contraceptive use-effectiveness, low prevalence of contraception, and poor or non-existent systems for providing contraceptives. These data show that high death rates of infants and children can moderate population growth rates--a most undesirable solution. The data in this report suggest that actual alternatives are high death rates of infants and children or widespread use of contraception and abortion. African nations tend to have the very lowest abortion rates and the very highest infant and child death rates. To avoid a world with deteriorating social, economic and political stability, with the concomitant loss of personal and national security, we must ensure that safe abortion is made available to all who wish to use this service.

PIP:

Population control is an important but neglected social benefit of abortion. To examine this role, the outhors compared population growth rates and abortion (legal and illegal) incidence rates for the 116 largest countries in the world. These 116 countries were first ranked by their abortion rates into 4 groups: very high (greater than 500/1000 live births), high (201-500/1000), moderate (50-200/1000) and low (less than 50/1000). Then each of these 4 groups was ranked according to contraceptive prevalence: very high (60% or above), high (40-59%), moderate (15-39%), and low (less than 15%). Within each of the 16 groups, the countries were then ranked according to their population growth rate. The age distribution and mortality of children under 5 years of age were also considered for each country. The data indicate that where abortion and contraceptive prevalence rates are the highest and populations are the oldest, growth rates tend to be the lowest. As contraceptive prevalence decreases, the growth rate increases. The younger the population, the greater the growth rate. Where the abortion rate is very high with only modest use of contraception, a high growth rate can result. Thus, abortion is necessary but not sufficient to cause low growth rates. With the exception of a few countries with aging populations and very high contraceptive prevalence rates, developed countries need to maintain abortion rates in the range of 201-500/1000 if they are to maintain growth rates at levels below 1%. An even greater reliance on abortion--over 500/1000 live births--is required in developing countries to reduce population growth.

PMID:
3709011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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