Guttmacher Institute


Population Council
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) CEPED
El Colegio de Mexico
Bixby Center for Population Health and Sustainability, UC Berkeley
James P. Grant School of Public Health

IUSSP Secretariat

International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP)

Council Liaison

University of Geneva, Institute of demography and Socioeconomics

Conducting high-quality research on abortion is complicated by the social and political sensitivity of the issue. This IUSSP panel will make an important contribution to the field by stimulating improvements in research on this topic, leading to better measurement and understanding of the effects of recent changes in laws, policies, health service provision, medical technology and women’s fertility preferences.  More research is also needed on women's decision-making processes regarding pregnancy, and how these are constrained by provider, legal, community, cultural and religious barriers, with particular attention to differential impact on vulnerable groups. Research on trends in the incidence of abortion and unsafe abortion are highly relevant to monitoring progress towards the global goals of reducing maternal morbidity and mortality and improving women's reproductive health and rights.  Measurement of abortion incidence has deteriorated in some settings, and new and improved data collection approaches are needed to address this negative trend. 

The panel's objective is to improve research on abortion by bringing together researchers in three scientific meetings, each focused on advancing knowledge, methodologies and collaboration on high priority issues, which are at the stage where they would benefit greatly from scientific exchange.  The three areas tentatively selected are: (a) Trends affecting the safety of abortion; (b) Decision-making regarding pregnancy and abortion; and (c) Trends in incidence of abortion overall and unsafe abortion.


Programme of activities

International Seminar on Incidence and Safety of Abortion: New Evidence and Improvements in Measurement

Watamu, Kenya, 3-5 December, 2018 

Publication: The following paper, presented at this IUSSP seminar, has now been published: Rachel H. Scott, Nathalie Bajos, Kaye Wellings and Emma Slaymaker. Comparing reporting of abortions in three nationally representative surveys: methodological and contextual influences. BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health 2019;45:213-219.


International Seminar on Medication Abortion: Availability and use, and impact on abortion safety and women’s health

Dakar, Senegal, 6-8 July 2016

International Seminar on Decision-making Regarding Pregnancy and Abortion: Determinants and Consequences
Nanyuki, Kenya, 3-5 June 2014