Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Worldwide, some 46 million women have abortions every year. Of these abortions, only slightly more than half are legal, that is, take place under conditions that are medically safe and where neither the woman nor the provider is subject to criminal prosecution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 13 percent of all pregnancy-related deaths, or 78,000, are linked to complications resulting from unsafe abortions. In the United States, the legalization of abortion occurred in 1973 with the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. After an initial sharp increase in the number of abortions, the abortion rate steadily declined to approximately 21 abortions per 1,000 women age 15 to 44, which amounts to about 1.3 million abortions annually. This rate falls within the norm of developed nations but is higher than in most of Western Europe, where the Netherlands occupies the low end with an abortion rate of The ...