Some 25% of pregnancies terminated
Each year, one in four pregnancies end in an abortion, global estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Guttmacher Institute suggest.
According to the report, 56 million induced abortions take place on an annual basis, a figure much higher than previously estimated.
Although rates of abortion have improved in many rich countries over recent years, there has been no change in poorer areas over the past 15 years.
In response to this research, and as an attempt to reduce termination numbers, experts are calling for new approaches to contraceptive services.
Dr Bela Ganatra, from the WHO, commented: "The high rates of abortion seen in our study provide further evidence of the need to improve and expand access to effective contraceptive services.
"Investing in modern contraceptive methods would be far less costly to women and to society than having unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions."