Distressing life events and poverty behind many abortions in US

August 20, 2012

The researchers, from the Guttmacher Institute in New York, base their findings on feedback data from almost 9,500 women who had an abortion in 2008 (Abortion Patient Survey), in the light of 11 "disruptive" events, and the links between these, poverty, and contraceptive use.

The disruptive events included job loss, separation, falling behind on rental/mortgage payments, death of a close friend, a serious health problem, a partner being sent to prison and becoming a victim of crime.

in the US is defined as an annual income before tax of $17,500 for a family of three: in 2008, 13% of US residents met this criterion.

The researchers also carried out in-depth interviews with 49 women seeking abortions to flesh out themes from the feedback data.

Their analysis showed that more than half (57%) of the women who had had an had faced a major life in the preceding year. One in 5 had lost their jobs; one in 6 had separated from their partner; one in 7 had fallen behind on their rental or mortgage payments, while one in 8 had moved several times.

One in 10 had experienced the death of a close friend or had had a baby over the past year. And 7% had been subjected to some form of .

Women said that the fall-out from one disruptive event could set up a . For example, one woman's grief following the death of her mother kept her from leaving an .

A higher proportion of women living in poverty (63%) had experienced at least one such event over the previous year than had affluent women (49%).

One in four women who lived in poverty had lost their job compared with 14% of financially better off women. And a higher proportion of those who were poor had also separated from a partner, fallen into arrears with rental/mortgage payments, moved several times or had given birth.

About half of the women were using contraception in the month they became pregnant, but the in-depth interviews showed that nearly half of these women said that disruptive events interfered with contraceptive use.

The authors point out that living in poverty made up 42% of the 1.2 million abortions carried out in 2008 in the US, up from 27% of the 1.31 million abortions performed in 2000.

Explore further: International team explores the stigma surrounding abortion

More information: www.jfprhc.bmj.com/lookup/doi/ … 6/jfprhc-2012-100311

Related Stories

International team explores the stigma surrounding abortion

June 28, 2011
An international team of researchers says abortion stigma is under-researched, under theorized and over emphasized in one category: women who've had abortions. As a result, they're launching a new direction into research ...

Back-street abortions on the rise, global report warns

January 19, 2012
A long-term fall in the global abortion rate has tapered off and the number of unsafe pregnancy terminations is rising worryingly, according to a report published by The Lancet on Thursday.

Abortions generate $95 million a year for Polish doctors as women use illegal private sector

May 17, 2011
New analysis published by the UK journal Reproductive Health Matters shows that the criminalisation of abortion in Poland has led to the development of a vast illegal private sector with no controls on price, quality of care ...

Recommended for you

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

App lets patients work alone or with others to prevent, monitor, and reverse chronic disease

July 24, 2017
Lack of patient adherence to treatment plans is a lingering, costly problem in the United States. But MIT Media Lab spinout Twine Health is proving that regular interventions from a patient's community of supporters can greatly ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.