Why Women Have Abortions

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In 1988, the Alan Guttmacher Institute conducted a survey of women who were getting abortions, asking why they had made this decision. They received responses from 1900 women at 27 abortion "clinics" and 3 hospitals. The results were printed in Family Planning Perspectives, Planned Parenthood's magazine.

Both the Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood are pro-abortion, so it is fair to suspect that there may be a "pro-choice" bias to the study. Additional bias may be suspected from the nature of the survey: It is fair to ask if a woman who is getting an abortion for less-than-earthshaking reasons might not exagerrate or even invent justifications in order to make her decision sound more justified. Nevertheless, the results of their study are interesting. The following text and numbers are taken from the chart in Family Planning Perspectives, July/August 1988 issue, page 170:

Woman is concerned about how having a baby could change her life 16%
Woman can't afford baby now 21%
Woman has problems with relationship or wants to avoid single parenthood 12%
Woman is unready for responsibility 21%
Woman doesn't want others to know she has had sex or is pregnant 1%
Woman is not mature enough, or is too young to have a child 11%
Woman has all the children she wanted, or has all grown-up children 8%
Husband or partner wants woman to have an abortion 1%
Fetus has possible health problem 3%
Woman has health problem 3%
Woman's parents want her to have abortion <1%
Woman was victim of rape or incest 1%
Other 3%

(Totals do not add to 100% because of rounding.)


Pro-abortionists routinely use hard cases like rape and deformed children to justify abortion-on-demand. Even if we accepted abortion in such difficult cases, and even if we accepted the numbers from this study as authoritative (and other studies by pro-lifers find much lower incidence of these hard cases), we could still summarize the above as:

Deformed baby less than 3%
Threat to life or health of mother maybe 3%
Rape and incest 1%
Mother has social problems 93%

Or to look at it graphically:

Now don't misunderstand me, I am not saying that these social-problem reasons are all frivolous. Sometimes they are legitimate, serious problems. But ... under what other circumstances would we accept the idea that one person has the right to kill another person to solve his or her social problems?

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