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Birth control use in North Korea is high, U.N. report says

By Elizabeth Shim
Birth control use in North Korea is high, U.N. report says
Women in North Korea use a variety of contraceptive methods, a trend that is growing, according to a recent report. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Contraceptive use among women in North Korea of childbearing age is higher than the global average, although birth control is illegal in the country.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, the contraceptive rate is 70 percent for the relatively isolated country, or 36th in the world, Voice of America reported Wednesday.

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The rate, which applies to North Korean women between the ages of 15 and 49, is higher than the average for the Asia-Pacific region, which is 69 percent, and higher than the global average, which is 64 percent.

Methods of contraceptives used in North Korea include surgical sterilization, condoms, birth control pills and intrauterine contraceptive devices.

The country with the highest rate of contraceptive use is China at 83 percent. South Korea was also one of the top five countries for birth control at 79 percent, according to VOA.

The report states the majority of North Korean women who use contraceptives opt for intrauterine devices, including the "Loop," which can be placed to closely fit around the contours of the uterine cavity.

Contraceptives are banned in North Korea but are available in the unofficial markets that have grown in the country.

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A female North Korean defector told VOA contraceptives and birth control treatments are expensive, but more women are becoming "westernized and liberalized," a trend that is bumping up demand.

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