from private facilities because they felt their privacy would be better protected there (Zheng et al., 2001). Likewise, in Cuba, where abortion services are widely available, in order to ensure anonymity young people frequently seek services outside their local clinic (Peláez Mendoz et al., 1999). However, a study of induced abortion among single women in Sichuan province suggested that providers were well trained and abortions were performed under generally safe conditions (Luo et al., 1995). In the Republic of Korea too, single women cited privacy as an important criterion in the selection of an abortion facility (Tai-Hwan, Kwang Hee, and Sung-nam, 1999).

Reasons frequently cited by young women for obtaining abortion are to continue to attend school, a lack of commitment by their partner, and being unmarried. In a review by Bankole, Darroch, and Singh (1999), between 30 and 55 percent of women who had an abortion in four studies in sub-Saharan Africa reported that their main reason for having the abortion was concern that childbearing and rearing would disrupt their education or their employment. In urban Cameroon, being in school increased the odds that a pregnancy would result in abortion sevenfold, after controlling for other factors (Calvès, 2002). This reason was less common but still significant in studies in three Latin American countries included in the Bankole, Darroch, and Singh (1999) review, with 15 percent of women reporting it. In addition to this category of reasons, a substantial proportion (14 to 37 percent of women) in all but one of the sub-Saharan and Latin American countries reported that their main reason for seeking the abortion was that they were too young or that their parents or someone else objected to the pregnancy.

Recent studies have documented the impact of rising rates of contraceptive use on abortion rates among women in a few developing countries (Marston and Cleland, 2003; Senlet et al., 2001; Singh and Sedgh, 1997; Westoff et al., 1998). The relationship between the two is complex and a number of factors come into play, but these studies generally demonstrate that a trade-off eventually occurs between contraception and abortion, as more women use contraception and as they use it more effectively. Where the use of contraception has grown among young women, particularly among sexually active unmarried women, the last decade may have seen reduced reliance on abortion or may signal an impending decrease in the demand for abortion. In many countries, however, it will most likely be several years before abortion rates decline; increases in exposure to the risk of premarital pregnancy, reductions in the number of children desired, and the increasing competition of educational and work aspirations with motherhood suggest that, unless young women adopt family planning in rising proportions, they will increasingly resort to abortion.

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