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New Report Estimates 222 Million Women with "Unmet" Family Planning Need

A recently released report from the Guttmacher Institute and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), “Adding it Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services –Estimates for 2012,” estimated that there are 222 million women in the developing world today who want to avoid a pregnancy in the next two years, but who are not using a modern contraceptive method. This new number is an increase from the previously cited 215 million, but, through different evaluation methods, the report revised the earlier number up to 226 million. Thus, the number of women with an “unmet need” has declined by an estimated 4 million over the past four years. Notable progress has been made in some parts of the developing world over the past four years, but in the 69 poorest countries there was no decline in the absolute number of women with an “unmet need.”  In fact, there was an increase in sub-Saharan Africa, from 50 million in 2008 to 53 million in 2012.  While some of the 222 million women cite lack access to contraceptives as the reason they are not using a modern method of birth control, Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) suggest that other factors, such as male opposition or misinformation about contraceptive risks, may play a larger role.