In January 2021, the Guttmacher Institute released the first comprehensive compilation of evidence about abortion incidence and safety in Sub-Saharan Africa overall, as well as in each of its four subregions (Eastern Africa, Middle Africa, Southern Africa, and Western Africa). In the report titled: From Unsafe to Safe Abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa: Slow but Steady Progress, the Guttmacher Institute provides an overview of the legality of abortion and describes how often and how safely abortions occur in the region’s 48 countries. It also offers an analysis of the underlying context of abortion—namely, unintended pregnancy and access to modern contraceptives.
The reports estimates that 89 % of unintended pregnancies in the region occur among women with unmet need for modern contraceptives. Such women either do not use contraceptive methods or use less effective methods, leading to unintended pregnancies that potentially end in unsafe abortions.