Washington International Law Journal


Evy F. McElmeel


The United Nations has decreed that access to a variety of methods of birth control is a basic human right, that prevention of pregnancy, not termination, is the goal of birth control, and that abortion is an unacceptable method of birth control. Until recently, condoms and the rhythm method were the only legal forms of contraception in Japan. The high failure rates of these methods, coupled with access to abortion on demand, made abortion the de facto primary method of birth control in Japan. The Japanese government's recent decision to end the ban on oral contraceptives will reduce the number of abortions in Japan.

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