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UNFPA: “Seeing the Unseen”, half of world’s pregnancies are unintended

NEW YORK/ROME – MARCH 31 – Half of all pregnancies in the world are unintended and the war in Ukraine could further exacerbate what is termed a “human rights crisis”. The alarm comes from UNFPA, the UN agency for reproductive health, in a new report on the state of the population presented simultaneously in New York and in various capitals including Rome.

Out of 121 million unwanted pregnancies every year – 331,000 per day – more than 60% end up with abortion, of which almost half are not safe, states the new report of the UN agency. The dossier puts the spotlight on a combination of gender inequality, poverty, sexual violence and lack of access to contraception and abortion, which have robbed women of the “the most life-altering reproductive choice – whether or not to become pregnant”. The war in Ukraine and other conflicts will contribute to a “staggering” increase in these numbers, the report says.

“We have heard stories of pregnant women who knew that from a nutritional point of view they would not be able to support their pregnancy” in Ukraine, explained UNFPA’s Executive Director, Natalia Kanem. And then “there are predators, traffickers and other people who see the tragedy of war as an opportunity to target women and girls”.


In Rome, where the report “Seeing the Unseen. The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy” was presented in a meeting promoted by the Italian Association of Women for Development (AIDOS), the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Sereni expressed “Italy’s solidarity with Ukrainian women and girls living days of unspeakable suffering, victims of a conflict that is not sparing them of the most serious violations of their rights, but also women and girls in Afghanistan, that after the announcement by the de facto authorities of the closure of secondary schools, see their fundamental right to education denied”.

Nothing is more fundamental than the ability to decide whether or not to have a pregnancy for the autonomy of the body. Yet, for too many women, the reproductive option that most affects life is not a choice at all, commented AIDOS, according to which the new UNFPA report reveals the extent and impact of this neglected crisis, highlighting with up-to-date data and facts the impact of unintended pregnancies on societies, countries and global development in general.

Sereni added that it is necessary to build a society where every pregnancy is desired and every birth is safe: “The UNFPA Report highlights the connection between respect for human rights and the exercise of the freedom of choice of each woman/girl on all aspects closely related to pregnancy. These issues – she continued – constitute a priority of Italy’s international action”.

Mariarosa Cutillo, Chief of Strategic Partnerships of UNFPA, Valeria Fedeli of the Parliamentary Working Group “Global Health and Women’s Rights” and the President of AIDOS Maria Grazia Panunzi attended the presentation of the report in Rome. Eleonora Cirant, journalist and expert in sexual and reproductive health, coordinated the event. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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