In 2018, 41.9 million abortions were performed worldwide, “i.e. more than the number of deaths globally recorded for the ten main causes of death”,according to the statistics website Worldometers, which states that the figures do not include miscarriages. In 2014, the WHO even published the figure of 56 million. “According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40–50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day“. Snopes, a well-regarded American website known for reporting on fake news, confirms: “If WHO’s estimate of 56 million abortions annually held steady through 2016, when they released their survey on the top ten leading causes of death globally, it would be true that the number of abortions worldwide outnumbered overall deaths from heart disease and stroke, the top two causes of death that year” (15.2 million people). But the site then qualifies its comments by playing on the meaning of the word “death”: “Stating that abortion is the ‘leading cause of death’ worldwide […] is a problematic pronouncement, because that stance takes a political position, one which is at odds with the scientific/medical world”, since “[t]he legal, philosophical, religious, and scientific arenas provide no definitive answers as to when personhood begins”. This is why the 42 million abortions are not included in the global mortality rate. Over 1.5 million abortions have already been recorded by Worldometers since 1 January 2019.
In Spain, abortion statistics have just been published for 2017, highlighting an increase in the number of abortions for the first time in five years of consecutive decline.
- 94,123 abortions in 2017 (compared to 93,131 in 2016): an increase of 1%,
- 10.51 abortions per thousand women,
- Women aged 20–24 are the most affected: 17.42 abortions per thousand women (16.72% in 2016),
- Slight decrease in the under-20 age group: 8.97% in 2016 compared to 8.84% in 2017,
- The two most affected regions are the Balearic Islands (13.94%) and Madrid (13.07%),
- Main reasons: choice of the woman (in 89.75% of cases), serious risk to the woman’s life or health (6.38%), risk of serious foetal abnormalities (3.61%), non-viable foetus (0.30%),
- 70.22% of abortions performed before 8 weeks, 23.83% between 9 and 14 weeks,
- 24.41% of the women interviewed had already had one abortion, 8.22% two abortions and 2.77% three or more abortions.
In France, the thirteenth Marche pour la Vie (March for Life) will take place in Paris on 20 January 2019. It is intended to be “an appeal to the French” to “defend the conscientious objection of doctors and raise general awareness on the issue of abortion”. Pope Francis sent words of encouragement to the organisers and “cordially greets the participants of the March for Life” in his message. “Driven by the conviction that ‘all the evil carried out in the world can be summed up in this: contempt for life’ (General Audience, 10 October 2018), the Pontiff encourages us to constantly bear witness to the inalienable values of human dignity and life”.
For further reading:
Observatorio de Bioetica (14/01/2018)