Study: Women Rarely Experience Both Childbirth and Abortion
In a study entitled “Estimating the Period Prevalence of Mothers Who Have Abortions: A Population Based Study of Inclusive Pregnancy Outcomes,” researchers provide strong evidence that most mothers do not also have experience with abortion. The study also found that the majority of women who have abortions do not already have born children and do not give birth to any subsequent children after their abortions.
The researchers analyzed records from Medicaid-eligible women aged 13 and older between the years of 1999 and 2014 in 17 states that provided state-funded abortions. They placed the nearly 5 million women into 5 categories based on the group’s nearly 8 million observable pregnancy outcomes. Subgroups included women who had A) only abortions and natural losses, B) only births and natural losses, C) both abortions and births, D) only natural losses, and U) only undetermined losses.
Data showed that 79.9% of the women in this study had given birth to children, while only 7% of these women (5.7% of the total study population) also experienced abortion. Most women did not experience both abortion and birth. There were also 6.6% of the study population that only experienced abortion who did not also experience birth.
In addition to the numbers of births and abortions, the birth and abortion sequence from each woman from Group C was evaluated which allowed the researchers to use the pregnancy outcome sequence as “proxy measures of motivation or intention of abortion”. The three possible pregnancy sequences (some combination of abortion(s) before birth(s), abortion(s) between births, and abortion(s) following birth(s)) were classified as abortions that 1) delay a first birth, 2) spaces children, and 3) ends childbearing. 38.5% of the women from Group C experienced an abortion before giving birth to their children, while 17.9% used abortion to space births, and 52.3% had childbearing ending abortions.
This retrospective analysis of pregnancy outcomes does not paint the entire picture of who is having abortions and for what reasons. However, it does give reasons to be skeptical of the narrative that women with children have more abortions than anyone else. This study counters that claim by showing that more than half of abortions were to women who did not, also, give birth. It is a rare experience for mothers of living children to have abortions.
[Today’s guest article is by C. Lambert. Photo credit: Laercio Cavalcanti on Unsplash.]
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