Social factor key in abortion

The Age (Australia) June 12, 2008
MORE than 40% of women who sought information about having an abortion during an audit at the Royal Women’s Hospital last year already had at least one child. The figure, researchers say, contradicts the belief that only young women who find themselves pregnant for the first time and are not in a stable relationship have an abortion. The audit of more than 3000 women who called the hospital’s pregnancy advisory service last year — of which more than 2000 went on to have an abortion at the hospital or elsewhere — suggests that some of the women who choose to terminate a pregnancy are older and married, with social and economic circumstances making it difficult for them to have more children.

“It is often married women in their 30s with several children, and we know that no contraception is infallible,” said Maggie Kirkman, research fellow at the Key Centre for Women’s Health in Society. Dr Kirkman said it was usually the combination of several factors that led to the decision, including the readiness to be a mother for the first time or taking into account the needs of their children. For instance, it might not be possible for them to take care of two children.

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