The Most Common Reasons Why Women Have Abortions
The ongoing fight over abortion rights, especially in Texas, continues to frame abortion through the lens of people who will never have abortions. Media outlets continue to repeat lies about abortion, treating demonstrably false claims as just as valid as the right of birthing people to control their bodies and not die giving birth. Women shouldn’t have to justify their abortions. Indeed, the entire point of abortion rights is that they preserve the ability of women and their doctors–not male legislators, not talking heads, not people who will never face an unwanted or dangerous or doomed pregnancy–to determine which abortions are acceptable.
So why do women have abortions? Several studies have asked them. Here are the most common reasons for abortion.
In a country that provides no guaranteed paid maternity leave, no affordable healthcare, and virtually no support for struggling families, it should come as no surprise that financial concerns top the list of abortion reasons in almost every study. A 2013 study found that finances were the most common reason for abortion, accounting for 40% of pregnancy terminations.
Abortion coverage almost always fails to acknowledge the role of men in abortion, but the research is clear: bad relationships with men often motivate abortion. A Guttmacher Institute survey found that 48% of abortions were motivated by relationship issues with male partners. In another study, 23.2% of women reported that domestic violence was the main reason for choosing abortion.
Caring for Other Children
Mothers are stretched to the breaking point in an increasingly anti-mother society. They often parent alone, without the support of a partner, a family, or a community. The financial and emotional burden can be immense. And this is why so many people who already have children choose abortion. In a 2013 study, the need to care for other children accounted for 29% of abortions.
In most studies, women cite bad timing as a major factor in their abortion decision. When pushed, they identify several interacting factors–financial problems, trouble caring for the children they already have, or domestic violence, for example. This suggests that a variety of complex sociocultural and individual factors play a role, and that without addressing those, trying to limit abortion is nothing short of abusive.