218 million girls and women in developing regions want to avoid or delay pregnancy, but are not using modern forms of contraception. This means more unintended pregnancies and more abortions, many of which are unsafe.
An estimated 35 million unsafe abortions are performed each year, mostly in developing countries. Each year, approximately 47,000 women die due to unsafe abortion and around 6.9 million women in developing regions seek medical care for complications from unsafe abortion.
Around the world, 300,000 girls and women die every year – that’s 800 every day – from pregnancy-related causes. Most of these complications are preventable or treatable. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19.
One-third of girls in the developing world are married before 18, and one-fifth become pregnant before 18. Every year, more than 15 million girls under age 19 give birth. That means every day, 41,000 girls become mothers. An estimated 23 million girls aged 15-19 living in developing regions are sexually active and want to delay pregnancy, but are not using modern contraceptives.
When women cannot plan their pregnancies, they are more likely to drop out of school and earn a lower income. This has a ripple effect on their families, communities, and countries.
Sexual and reproductive health is closely linked with infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Most HIV infections are sexually transmitted or associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.