Informe Nº: 20/03/2018


The bill on the voluntary termination of pregnancies provokes an intense exchange of opinions. Nevertheless, subjective opinions prevail and there is little consideration to the scientific evidences. Essentially, what is discussed is whether it is pertinent for society to impose a woman to conceive a child against her will or if her decision to terminate the pregnancy corresponds to be respected.

For many years abortion has had the legal treatment that is now proposed in Argentina in the developed countries. That is, it is the woman who decides to continue or not with pregnancy. On the other hand, more restrictive rules prevail in developing countries, such as those currently in force in Argentina. These divergences make it possible to objectively evaluate the consequences of adopting different strategies.

A study published in 2016 in the prestigious medical magazine The Lancet and funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Nations and the World Health Organization highlights that between the years 1990 and 2014 it can be seen that:

  • The abortion rate in the world dropped from 40 to 35 per 1,000 women aged between 15 and 44 years.
  • In developed countries, this rate fell from 46 to 27 per 1,000 women.
  • In developing countries, the rate went form 39 to 37 per 1,000 women.


These data shows that in the last quarter of the century the abortion rate had a significant decrease in the developed countries, where the decision of the woman in relation to continue or interrupt the pregnancy is respected. In contrast, in developing countries where abortion tends to be legally penalized, the rate remained practically constant. These scientific evidences suggest that the legalization of abortion does not induce more irresponsible sexual practices but, on the contrary, generates the conditions for a lower proportion of unwanted pregnancies.

Another very important evidence that this study shows is that between 2010 and 2014, 73% of the women who had an abortion were married or in conjugal union, while only 27% were women who did not have a live-in couple. This reinforces the notion that the legalization of abortion does not promote debauchery but operates as a last resort in family planning. Therefore, the legalization of the interruption of pregnancy allows family planning to be done legally and with medically safe methods.

Abortions are a very traumatic experience that hardly any woman considers trivial, much less enjoyable. But being forced to procreate without wishing to have children can, in some cases, generate a more traumatic situation. Only in this way it can be explained that in countries where abortion is illegal, many women are willing to risk their lives in clandestine interventions in order to interrupt their pregnancy. Evidence is showing that it is unlikely that a woman will find herself in an unwanted pregnancy because abortion is legal and, furthermore, that legalization helps to make policies aimed at promoting responsible sexual practices more effective and to provide restraint and guidance to those who face an unwanted pregnancy.

The positions based on ethical and religious considerations that oppose the termination of pregnancy deserve to be respected. But the same treatment deserves those who consider that it is not appropriate to force a person to conceive a child that she does not want to have. Respecting the will of people, as the more developed countries do, is not only an act of tolerance but also a way to generate more effective strategies to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

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