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Israel will mark World Contraception Day for the first time next Friday. The day is aimed at preventing unwanted pregnancies and abortions and encouraging the use of birth control pills and devices. The event is organized and funded by non-governmental organizations and a drug company, but no products will be advertised.
Prof. Daniel Seidman, chairman of the Israel Society for Contraception and Sexual Health, said Tuesday that more than 20,000 legal abortions are performed every year (the number of illegal ones is believed to be about the same number), and that 2,000 of the legal ones involve girls under 18.
Last year, 1,800 girls under 18 had babies, while 2,000 abortions were approved by the Health Ministry in this age group. The younger a teenage girl is when she gets pregnant, the more likely that the pregnancy is unwanted, Seidman said.
A study by the Guttmacher Institute in the US of elective abortions in 60 countries has found that the greater the use of birth control, the lower the number of abortions.
A Web site in English (www.your-life.com) and one in Hebrew (www.your-life.co.il) are available to provide information on contraception.
More than 100,000 copies of a booklet on contraception, aimed at young people aged 18 to 25, will be distributed via the media before World Contraception Day. A guide to contraception will also be on hand at gynecology clinics and high schools around the country.