The 1993 Act on Family Planning, Human Fetus Protection and Conditions for Permissibility of Pregnancy Termination is one of the most restrictive in Europe. Despite the fact that the number of abortions reported officially went down from over 123 thousand in 1987 to 1.2 thousand in 1993, when the restricted law came into force, the low figures reported for subsequent years (such as 339 abortions in 2006) are considered to depict only a marginal share of the real numbers. Existing estimates range from 10-15 thousand to 80-200 thousand illegally performed abortions per year. The significant drop in the recorded number of deliberate pregnancy terminations, however, did not coincide with an increase in the number of births. On the contrary, fertility declined considerably to the lowest levels observed since the 1950s. An increasing knowledge on family planning and a better availability of contraception undoubtedly contributed to the downward tendency of induced abortions. However, a question about the actual numbers of abortions remains open. That issue is the main subject of this article. Herewith, an attempt to evaluate the possible numbers of abortions in Poland was undertaken using two approaches. Since the assumptions used can be seen as rather restrictive, the proposed procedures can be best described as simulations. The first approach simulates the number of abortions that would be reported if the legal situation prior to 1990 was restored, and the trends in abortion in Poland and the adjacent countries since 1960 would continue. The simulated figures indicate between 30 and 50 thousand abortions per year. The second approach refers also to a hypothetical situation of no restrictive abortion regulation in Poland and assumes the abortion rate in Poland similar to those found in Sweden, Norway, France, Great Britain, Slovakia and Czech Republic in 2006. Under these conditions, the actual number of abortions would be between 90 and 185 thousand annually.
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