An unmarried woman or girl with an unplanned pregnancy is often seen as having “loose morals”, or dismissed as “irresponsible.”
For many the shame attaches not just to her, but to her family as well.
What about married women with unintended pregnancies?
People too often assume they want to get pregnant, or that they are, at least, able to handle it. This is an erasure of their desires and choices.
But the Truth is:
Most first teenage pregnancies actually happen while a girl is married or in a relationship; many of these pregnancies are self-reported as intended.
Married women, mid-life women, even perimenopausal women, experience unintended pregnancies with alarming frequency.
Every form of modern contraceptive has a failure rate.
LGBTI people face similar, sometimes even greater, risk of unintended pregnancy.
Many women are unable to obtain forms of contraception that work for their bodies and circumstances, if they have access to contraceptives at all.
In every corner of the world, social pressures, sexual violence and coercion are disturbingly ubiquitous.
Yes, but my partner and I used the withdrawal method. Jordan, 29 years old
Yes. I personally don't like using condoms, especially when I am not familiar with the brand or type. Country unlisted, 24 years old
Yes, but we had looked for contraception and it was not accessible, so we used emergency contraception. Uganda, 35 years old
Yes. Because of a lack of access to contraception, plus in some cases from my partner’s pressure. Sudan, 31 years old
Yes, due to lack of access to contraception. Trinidad and Tobago, 65 years old
No, I always used a condom together with another method, even when married. Brazil, 46 years old
Yes. India, 62 years old
Yes. Uganda, 46 years old
Rarely, when condoms are not at hand and I have run out of birth control pills. USA, 30 years old
Yes, but we used the withdrawal method. Nigeria, 37 years old
Yes. Tajikistan, 30 years old
Note: An informal questionnaire elicited about 60 responses from nearly 30 countries at the end of 2021. Responses here have been excerpted and edited for clarity.
Every woman, and some people who do not identify as women, is at risk of an unintended pregnancy.