Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

What is that most common reason some women choose to have an abortion?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5457points) March 14th, 2016

As many of you have probably guessed already, I am actually pro-choice. So I am merely asking out of curiosity. The other reason I’m asking this is due to the amount of misinformation I have noticed over the years, whenever the topic of abortion is being discussed (especially on the internet).

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36 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think that there is a most common reason. I think that it depends on the circumstances.

Tragically, something can be wrong with the fetus.

Sometimes, a woman is not prepared to raise a child (too young, no father in sight, too many children already).

Sometimes, a pregnancy would put the mother’s life in danger.

janbb's avatar

I would think the most common reason is probably that the woman does not feel she can adequately raise a child and that could be for a multiplicity of factors.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I think there are as many reasons for having an abortion as there are abortions.

filmfann's avatar

The most common reason would probably be not being ready to have a child yet.

JLeslie's avatar

Usually, because they don’t want a baby at that time. That’s why women I know abort. Often it had to do with still being very young and single. I did have one friend who aborted in her teens because she didn’t want her parents to know she had sex. Another who aborted because her parents pushed her into it. The rest did it, because they wanted to.

The second most common I hear from friends is something very wrong with the fetus, and they want to abort so they can get pregnant again. All of my friends and acquaintances who aborted for this reason wanted to have children at that time. Some of the abnormalities would have meant the pregnancy would not make it to term or the baby would die shortly after birth. Some of the abnormalities the baby probably would have lived, but had some serious problems. Most of these women had abortions 14 weeks or later. I don’t know one woman who had a “late term” abortion who didn’t want to be pregnant. They all wanted to be pregnant and have children at that time in their life.

Jaxk's avatar

I find it interesting that the New Zealand Equality Education Foundation is proposing a law whereby the father could terminate his parental rights and obligations for an unwanted fetus. They argue that the woman has the right to terminate or not, but that the man has no such escape and can be detrimentally affected just like the mother. If the father wants the baby and the mother doesn’t, there’s nothing the father can do but if the father doesn’t want it and the mother does, at least he would have an avenue of escape just like the mother. I wonder how much effect a law of this sort might have on the number of abortions.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I agree with @janbb that was my primary reasoning years ago when I chose abortion.
I feel very strongly that choosing termination in the very early stages of a pregnancy is far preferable to bringing a life into the world that one is, at best, not prepared to deal with let alone the horrible neglect and abuse so many children suffer at the hands of their own parents.

Zaku's avatar

There are many reasons that are complex, personal, and which a woman might have extremely good/strong reasons not to be completely forthcoming about, given the judgements and prejudices of so many people around them. So I don’t expect it will be at all easy to get reliable statistics on which reasons are actually most common, though I’m sure someone has statistics about what some women have said.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I did a Q years ago about men being able to opt out of being a father and being responsible for the baby. Here it is if you or anyone else is interested in the opinions people gave. You might have been on the Q I don’t remember. I didn’t read it through.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Scared. What was I going to tell my parents? I know now that it would have worked out somehow, someway, but I didn’t know that then. I was only 19. PLus my folks were divorcing and Mom had moved 2000 miles away to be with her family so whatever support system I may have had was gone, or so I thought. It was a pretty awful time in my life.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Being pregnant and not wanting to be pregnant. It doesn’t really get more complicated than that.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@dappled_leaves Yeah I don’t think its really that simple to be honest. Many women who have an unplanned pregnancy have changed their mind and decided to let the pregnancy come to terms.

Jaxk's avatar

@JLeslie – Thanks for that link. I find it quite interesting to read the views on that thread and compare them to what is said here. There is quite a conflict between the two.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@NerdyKeith And many have not. I’m not sure what your point is.

There are a lot of reasons why someone would/wouldn’t want a child. They are highly personal, and should not be scrutinized. “I don’t want a child” is a sufficient reason.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@dappled_leaves Well I’m not judging anyone for choosing abortion. I just feel that there is a lot of dishonesty from the pro-life side of the argument and so I asked this to dispel some of the fallacies. So that moving forward if I am having a debate with a pro-life person about abortion I can more easily debunk their fallacies.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ I think you’re right about that. I’ve heard people argue that women use abortion as a form of birth control; that they prefer to undergo an invasive procedure, which is costly and emotionally and physically traumatic, rather than take a pill or use some form of barrier contraceptive.

Isn’t that argument prima facie ridiculous?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@NerdyKeith I can understand that. In my opinion, one of the most disappointing trends in America lately is to try to come up with “justifiable” reasons for abortion, and in some cases even contraception. The argument to preserve the right to access for abortion should not hinge on whether rape or incest are horrifying enough to make that cut. “I don’t want to have a child” is a sufficient reason for an abortion.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Love_my_doggie That is a terrific point, as long as contraception is 100% available and 100% effective, and if we feel it’s important to punish a woman for making a (mutual!) mistake by hijacking her body for 9 months and potentially her life for 18 years. Awesome.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Love_my_doggie Yes I agree, that is unfortunately only one of the bad pro-life arguments. I’ve actually heard some users over on Yahoo claim that its mostly promiscuous women who get abortions. Its a crazy thing to claim, but these claims unfortunately are being made.

@dappled_leaves Thanks. And very good points.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@dappled_leaves You do know that we’re 100% in agreement? I find the abortion-as-birth-control argument completely absurd, and for many reasons.

Coloma's avatar

Well, speaking for myself and every women I have known since about 1975 ( and I’ll add how fortunate I was to have access to a safe, therapeutic abortion in 1973 within months of Roe vs. Wade passing ) all of us chose abortion because we did not want to follow through with a pregnancy, whether that was due to being young and unprepared, not having a willing partner that supported a pregnancy or simply because we did not want to have a child, yet, if ever.
None of of used abortion as a method of BC, all pregnancies were the result of poor planning, date rape, ( decades before that term was coined ) or just plain youthful stupidity and risk taking.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Love_my_doggie Yes, I do. Perhaps we’ve out-sarcasmed each other.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk My link is over 5 years old, attitudes might have changed. Feel free to do a Q based on your link and also incorporate my Q if you’d like.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Kind of off the subject, but I was chatting with our payroll person here. She was digging through an employee file. She mentioned that she got something from the state telling her she needed to start withholding child support from one particular employee. She said that almost, without fail, when she does that, the employee quits.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Dutchess_III Not really off subject, no.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@dappled_leaves Hey…Snark Fest 5000…bring it on! :-)

I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page, and that we’re still friends.

Mariah's avatar

There are tons of reasons, I don’t know what the most common are.

If I got pregnant right now, I would get an abortion right away, because I can’t trust that my body could handle a pregnancy.

A singer I love who is very open about her life has been open about the fact that she had an abortion a few years ago because she didn’t realize she was pregnant, and her doctor prescribed her a medication that causes horrible birth defects, and she took it, and then she learned she was pregnant. She was devastated, but she aborted the baby. She has a health newborn now.

Young teenagers who are raped have abortions because they’re not ready and it wasn’t their fault they got pregnant. Young teenagers who have consensual sex have abortions just because they’re not ready. That’s just as valid.

Women who are already mothers have abortions because they aren’t financially or emotionally equipped to cope with another child.

There are lots of reasons. I don’t like to split hairs to decide which reasons are “good enough” and which aren’t. I accept all reasons because it is a very personal decision.

Adagio's avatar

@Jaxk I live in NZ and have never heard anything about the possibility of fathers opting out of responsibility for their unborn children. I’m not sure how old your link is but it is certainly not the case here right now and as I have said, I’ve never heard a whisper of such a possibility.

Jaxk's avatar

@Adagio – I don’t know much about it. I heard the tail end of a story on the radio and it sounded interesting so I googled it. The article I linked is what I found.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

In my experience, I’ve known a lot of women who have opted for abortion. The biggest reason boiled down to a single cause, which was fear. In one way or another, fear played a massive role in choosing to abort the pregnancy. I’ve only met one woman in my entire life who had quite a few due to irresponsibility on her part and she wasn’t really phased by any of it. Which I also don’t judge, just to make it clear – she was just different than most.

Admitting this is somewhat difficult, simply because I’m such a private person, but I have had two. The first was when I was about 22. I was in a very unstable and unhealthy relationship and I had no confidence whatsoever that things would work out for the best between the father and myself, and I didn’t have the means to raise a baby on my own at the time. The second time was because I wasn’t ready and I was terrified that something really bad would happen to me if I went through with the pregnancy due to how badly my body was doing in multiple ways. I was being tested for Lupus and all kinds of things because doctors couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. Also, something the father said terrified me and I was scared that I’d have to do it alone.The second abortion ate at me, even worse than the first, because I never wanted to have another one. But I was very scared, for varying reasons, each time.

Why, ultimately, share something so personal? Because I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I shouldn’t be ashamed because of the choices I’ve made (and I’m not), but the difficulty in sharing comes with the knowledge that someone, somewhere, is going to judge you – without all of the extremely important details, and as much as I believe, I still don’t want to deal with that. It gets tiring and very difficult sometimes.

JLeslie's avatar

Sometimes I wonder if it’s scarier to be a single mom with no help from the father, or to be tied to a guy through a child when the guy is not responsible and the idea of dealing with him for 18+ years is daunting. Not to mention your son might wind up just like him, or your daughter might be drawn to men like him.

JeSuisRickSpringfield's avatar

Well, @dappled_leaves is obviously right about the general case: women abort because they are pregnant and don’t want to be. But there are a lot of potential reasons why they might not want to be pregnant, which I’m guessing is what @NerdyKeith is really asking about. Here’s a study on the more specific reasons women abort. It’s not a very long read, but here are the summaries of the study’s results and conclusions anyway.

RESULTS: The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child. Fewer than 1% said their parents’ or partners’ desire for them to have an abortion was the most important reason. Younger women often reported that they were unprepared for the transition to motherhood, while older women regularly cited their responsibility to dependents.

CONCLUSIONS: The decision to have an abortion is typically motivated by multiple, diverse and interrelated reasons. The themes of responsibility to others and resource limitations, such as financial constraints and lack of partner support, recurred throughout the study.

Adagio's avatar

@Jaxk I’d love to know more. I listen to Public Radio exclusively and it is very informative but I’ve not heard anything relating to this.

Jaxk's avatar

@Adagio – I’d like to help but I’m afraid I don’t have much more than I posted. The story I caught was not on any legitimate news channel it was, I think, Howard Stern. As I said I only caught a bit of it at the end which is why I had to google it to find out and I don’t know if he was talking about New Zealand. Here’s another source for you. Try googling ‘men to opt out of parental responsibility’.

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