Bulgaria Abortions Almost Equal Births, Highest Teen Abortion Rate in Europe

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 20, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bulgaria Abortions Almost Equal Births, Highest Teen Abortion Rate in Europe Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 20
, 2008

Sophia, Bulgaria (LifeNews.com) — Bulgaria has had one of the world’s highest abortion rates in recent years and new statistics there show there are about 50,000 abortions annually in the eastern European nation. The Association for Obstetrics and Gynecology indicated women in Bulgarian continue to rely on abortion as a method of contraception.

That’s because of an online poll the group conducted showing 76 percent of women disapprove of abortion but just four percent use any form of contraception.

The group reported the teen abortion rate continues as one of the highest in Europe.

AOG head professor Nikola Milchev told the Sofia News Agency that 38 out of ever 1,000 teenagers in Bulgaria have an abortion.

He said government and private groups must do more to promote contraception and is worried that the number of abortions almost equals the number of births.

"It is absurd that in 21st century Bulgaria there are 65,000 births and 50,000 abortions annually," Milchev said.

A United Nations report last August that studied the abortion rates of 61 countries across the globe found Bulgaria among the leaders.

In addition to regarding abortion as a top method of contraception, laws in the eastern European country allow virtually unlimited abortions for any reason throughout pregnancy.
According to the report, there are about 21 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, while most nations show a rate of less than 10 per 1,000. Sixteen of the 61 nations showed levels above 20 and Bulgaria is among them.

Forty percent of women in Bulgaria have had an abortion compared to 20 to 30 percent in most industrialized nations.

The report also indicated that Bulgaria is one of the leaders in terms of the earliest average age of a first pregnancy, which highlights the problems of teenage pregnancy the nation has.

The high abortion rates there are causing significant population problems.

Bulgaria has long had more abortions than births and was previously estimated to lose as much as 40 percent of its population. Looking to stem the problems of underpopulation abortion has caused, the Bulgarian government has approved measures over the years to promote birth.

The Bulgaria cabinet approved a strategy to target population issues by 2020. The plan includes measures to reduce the number of abortions, lower infant mortality rates and raise literacy levels.

The number of abortions compared to 1,000 births was 750 in 2001 but at its worst in the 1990s, the health ministry reported 93,540 abortions were carried out in one year compared to 72,188 births.

The problem is exacerbated by the poor Bulgarian economy and abortions are seen as much cheaper than raising a child.

"My salary amounts to 130 German marks (72 dollars) and my husband, who is an engineer, is unemployed," a 32 year-old woman told the French Press Agency. "One bag of powdered milk costs 17 marks and a baby stroller 160 marks. How can we even dream of having children?"

"I regretted having an abortion because I was dreaming of having another child," another woman said. "But how can I afford a maternity leave when we don’t have enough money even though my husband and I work."

In the late 1990s, only Russia and Romania had higher abortion rates and both countries face the same underpopulation problems. Abortions have only decreased in recent years because so many Bulgarian women have moved to other nations.