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January 22, 2008

60% of women who have abortions have children: One fact to contemplate on the Roe V. Wade anniversary

Blog for Choice Day

Yes, you read that header correctly. According to a report out by the Guttmacher Institute, 60% of women who have had an abortion already have children.

The majority of U.S. women who have abortions (61%) have children. This exploratory study analyzes qualitative information from 38 women obtaining abortions to examine how issues of motherhood influenced their decisions to terminate their pregnancies. Women in the sample had abortions because of the material responsibilities of motherhood, such as the care for their existing children, as well as the more abstract expectations of parenting, such as the desire to provide children with a good home. The women believed that children were entitled to a stable and loving family, financial security, and a high level of care and attention. One fourth of the women had considered adoption but regarded it as being emotionally distressing. The findings demonstrate reasons why women have abortions throughout their reproductive life spans and that their decisions to terminate pregnancies are often influenced by the desire to be a good parent.

Today is the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe. v. Wade, which made abortion legal in this country. As a reproductive justice activist, I think I can safely say that most of us think of abortion as an issue for single women, mostly teenagers, not ready to become mothers. Yet this recent report should make us all rethink the way we think of women who have abortions. Because, well, they are us. Mothers. Mothers who want the best for their children.

I have known mothers who have had abortions. Some because they were well over 40 and thought the baby factory was closed, recently left their abusive husband with 3 kids in tow, found out they were dying of cancer and had to either try to survive long enough to give birth or terminate to start chemo, or just had more babies than they could handle.

Please no name calling in the comments. If you are against abortion, please don't throw accusations. I invite you all to share your thoughts on the anniversary - again without calling anyone a murderer or fascist - Can we do that?

When Veronica isn't rabble rousing on CMB, she does it at her blog, Viva La Feminista, where you can see her other Blog for Choice posts.


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