This isolated landlocked Himalayan country, sharing borders with China and India, has a population of 672,500 (2005 estimate), with a female life expectancy of 54.5, one of the few countries to have a lower life expectancy rate for females than for males. It has a birth rate of 33.6 per 1,000, and an infant mortality rate of 98.4 per 1,000 live births.

Abortion is illegal in Bhutan unless necessary to save the life of the mother, but it is widely believed that some women continue to obtain abortions from untrained providers. However, no reliable statistical data exist on this practice. Promotion of family planning by the government has helped raised the prevalence rate for contraception use from 18.4 percent in 1994 to 30.7 percent in 2000.

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