“Unintended Pregnancy and Induced Abortion in Colombia: Causes and Consequences,” the first report released in approximately twenty years analyzing abortion in Columbia, revealed that approximately “one in 26 Columbian women had an abortion in 2008″ and that an estimated one third of pregnancies resulted in an abortion. The study, released by the Guttmacher Institute, indicated that although the number of abortions performed in the country has increased slightly since 1989, this is primarily due to the increased number of women who are of reproductive age. Elena Prada, one of the report’s authors, highlighted the need for increased access to contraception for Colombian women, saying, “We must bear in mind that unintended pregnancy is the reason for the vast majority of abortions. Improved family planning services and increased use of contraception are key in reducing unintended pregnancies, and thus abortions in Columbia.”

Although a Colombian court ruled in 2006 that abortions could be legally performed when the women’s life is in danger or in cases of rape or incest, almost all abortions in Columbia—99.9 percent—are illegal, despite the fact that “an estimated 132,000 women (one-third of all women having an abortion experience complications that require medical attention.”

Cristina Villareal, co-author of the report, stated, “The study’s findings make clear the need to remove institutional and bureaucratic obstacles for women seeking a legal procedure and ensure that health facilities with the capacity and mandate to provide safe and legal procedures do so. Six out of 10 health facilities in Colombia that have the capacity to provide postabortion care do not provide it and about nine out of every 10 of these facilities do not offer legal abortion services.”

Guttmacher Institute 9/7/11; Unintended Pregnancy and Induced Abortion in Columbia: Causes and Consequences 2011

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