Unintended Pregnancy and Key Outcomes—Abortion and Unplanned Births: Improvements in Measurement and New Evidence
Seminar organized by the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Abortion Research and the Population Council, India.
As fertility rates continue to decline in most parts of the world, the incidence of unintended pregnancy has nevertheless remained high, and is rising in some sub-regions. An important underlying reason is that increases in contraceptive use have not matched increases in the desire for small families and for controlling the timing of births. At the same time, the concept of unintended pregnancy continues to be assessed and re-examined with the goal of ensuring that it accurately reflects individual-level preferences, subgroup differences and population-level variation.
Researchers continue to explore new ways to better measure the intention status of pregnancy by improving measurement of fertility preferences and intentions, to capture variation due to changing individual circumstances, differences in community norms and values and changes in socioeconomic and policy context. Some studies have examined the degree of intensity or strength of fertility preferences and intentions. These preferences are fluid and may change over short periods of time. In addition, retrospective measurement (commonly used by large-scale surveys) may underestimate unintended childbearing and pregnancy. In addition, dominant social norms may influence research questions and measurement, potentially over-estimating unintended childbearing and pregnancy.
Research on unintended pregnancy and its two key outcomes—unplanned births (mistimed or unwanted) and induced abortions—is essential for providing the evidence base to inform policymakers as they make decisions on funding and programs, to effectively support people in achieving their reproductive goals through facilitating access to needed information and services. Monitoring progress towards global and national reproductive health and rights goals would also be well served by research on these reproductive outcomes.
The seminar will provide an opportunity for researchers to propose new approaches and methodologies, assess the advantages and disadvantages of existing methodologies, and present results from new empirical studies. Papers may be country-specific, regional or global in scope, empirical or methodological, and the seminar will aim to include studies in a range of contexts around the world. Additional aims of the seminar are to stimulate research in this area by increasing networking among researchers and facilitating linkages and coordination across disciplines, countries and research institutions. This seminar will bring together demographers, public health specialists, sociologists and anthropologists, as well as scholars from other related disciplines interested in exchanging the latest scientific knowledge on unintended pregnancy, unplanned childbearing and abortion.