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Why women have abortions

Why do women have abortions?  It’s Not What You Think.

64% Report Being Pressured to Have an Abortion
In a report featured in the Medical Science Monitor, 64% of American women reported that they felt pressured by others to have an abortion. 1

Significant Number of Women Report Being Coerced to Have an Abortion

  • Two New York men have been jailed for killing their pregnant girlfriends who refused to have an abortion. 2
  • A couple in Maine kidnapped their pregnant 19-year-old daughter and attempted to take her to New York and force her to have an abortion.
  • A South Carolina police officer was arrested for assault and attempt to kill a pregnant 19-year-old whom he tried to force to abort their child.4
  • A Georgia mother and two cousins were arrested for forcing a 16-year-old pregnant girl to drink turpentine in an attempt to kill her unborn child. 5

Personal Stories of Forced Abortion
On June 6, 2006, I found out I was going to be a mother. I felt my baby moving at 14 weeks. It was a good baby. I was forced to get an abortion by my mother. I look at my ultrasound everyday. 
— 13-15-Year-Old Female

I’m sixteen and I recently had an abortion. I automatically fell in love with my baby – but when we told our parents our happiness soon faded. When I found out that I actually had an appointment to let someone kill my child I couldn’t believe my mom couldn’t understand what I was going through. The whole time the doctor did the abortion I was crying. I couldn’t believe my baby was dying. I don’t even want to sleep at night because I have nightmares and replay the whole thing over and over in my head. 
— 16–Year-Old Female

92% of Women Cite “Social” or “Other” as the Most Important Reason for Abortion 6

25% Not ready for another child/timing is wrong

23% Can’t afford a baby now

19% Completed my childbearing/have other people depending on me/children are grown

8% Having relationship problems/don’t want to be a single mother

7% Not mature enough to raise a child/too young to have a child

4% Child would interfere with education or career plans

4% Physical problem with my health

3% Possible health problems of the baby

0.5% Rape/husband or partner wants abortion/parents want abortion/don’t want anyone to know about pregnancy

6% Other

These were the most important reasons cited in a study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) appearing in the September 2005 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The information was compiled from surveys of 1,209 abortion patients at 11 abortion centers across the United States. In-depth interviews were conducted with 38 women at four abortion centers.

While the percentages above reflect the most important reason, most women cited more than one reason. The most common theme when several reasons were cited was the claim of not being able to afford the child. A high percentage of women (74%) also cited concerns about how the baby would change their lives. Relationship issues were cited as high as 48% of the time.

Over 80% of abortions are performed on unmarried women. Unmarried status reveals that women feel a lack of support from the babies’ fathers. A 2000 AGI demographic study shows that 61% of women who abort already have one or more children — a further indication that without the assistance of the father, women tend to choose abortion.

Adoption Not an Option
The AGI study found that women do not see adoption as an option. Although not directly asked about adoption, over one-third of the women interviewed self-reported that they dismissed adoption as a morally unacceptable option. As summarized in the AGI study, women expressed that “giving one’s child away is wrong.” Apparently, killing the child is seen as a lesser “evil” than placing the child with loving adoptive parents.

48% are Repeat Abortions
Another important statistic is that 48% of abortions are repeat abortions, that is, the woman has already had one or more abortions. This implies that women are using abortion as a means of birth control.


1.  Vincent M. Rue, Priscilla K. Coleman, James J. Roe, David C. Reardon, “Induced abortion and traumatic stress:  A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 2004; 10(10): SR5-16.

2.  Steven Ertelt, “New York Man Who Killed Pregnant Girlfriend for Refusing Abortion Sentenced,”, March 2, 2007.  Steven Ertelt, “Another New York Man Kills Pregnant Girlfriend Who Refused Abortion,”, April 18, 2007.
3.  Steven Ertelt, “Maine Couple’s Lawyers Talk Plea Deal in Attempted Forced Abortion Case,”, February 28, 2007.
4.  Steven Ertelt, “South Carolina Police Offer Arrested After Attempted Forced Abortion,”, April 16, 2007.
5.  Steven Ertelt, “Police Arrest Georgia Mother, Cousins in Second Forced Abortion Case,”, September 26, 2006.
6. Lawrence B. Finer, Lori F. Frowirth, Lindsay A. Dauphinee, Susheela Singh, and Ann M. Moore, “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions:  Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives,” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 37, no. 3 (September 2005): 110-18.