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Birth Control


There’s a large unmet need for contraception worldwide; more than 110 million women globally who want contraceptives but do not have access to them. One third of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended (80 million annually). These pregnancies lead to 20 million unsafe abortions each year with at least 70,000 women—often mothers—dying as a result. Many more, approximately 5 million women, are hospitalized annually from complications as a result of unsafe abortions. Approximately 90% of deaths from unsafe abortions and 20% of other obstetrical deaths could be avoided by increased access to effective contraception for women worldwide.

In the United States, among the 62 million women of reproductive age, most (70 percent) are sexually active, fertile and are trying to avoid getting pregnant, yet nearly half of all pregnancies each year are unintended.

Contraceptive use

Approximately 11% of these women do not use any method currently, and this small percentage of women account for more than 50% of all unintended pregnancies. At current rates, experts estimate that at least half of all US women will experience an unintended pregnancy, and one in three will have an abortion, by age 45.

Contraceptive Use and Unintended Pregnancyon?

  • 11% of women of reproductive age do not use contraception, accounting for 52% of unintended pregnancies
  • 89% of women of reproductive age use contraception, accounting for 48% of unintended pregnancies. In 90% of these cases, contraception was being used inconsistently or incorrectly.

(All images & graphs from ARHP unless otherwise stated)