It’s a fact that may surprise its fiercest opponents, but a majority of women who have terminated pregnancies by abortion have one thing in common. No, not just that they're pregnant and don't want to be. It's that they are already moms.
In fact, 59 percent of women who have exercised their right to choose had given birth at least one time prior to their abortion. Of that number, statistics from the Guttmacher Institute say a third already had multiple children.
And this isn’t a new trend.
When Guttmacher researchers reviewed the numbers of women seeking abortion in 2008 and those who made the choice in 2014, they found the number of moms in the mix was “virtually unchanged.”
In other words: Many women aren’t just thinking about their futures when they opt for abortion. They’re considering their current positions and resources as caregivers and providers.
So why would a mother seek out an abortion?
Redbook recently asked a number of moms just that, and the responses ranged from those of medical necessity to financial concerns.
One mom made the choice to undergo the procedure after a doctor diagnosed her baby with “severe hydrops,” a fatal condition that caused fluid to build up in the fetus. “The decision had been made for us,” she explained.
'I work in research about women's reproductive health. So I've always been pro-choice, but this experience gave me an understanding of how powerful it is to allow women to decide what's best for their existing children, their families, and for themselves.'
The power to make the decision for her family as a whole deeply affected another mom, who told Redbook, “I work in research about women's reproductive health. So I've always been pro-choice, but this experience gave me an understanding of how powerful it is to allow women to decide what's best for their existing children, their families, and for themselves.”
“We thought long and hard about about our decision to have an abortion,” said another mom who was surprised by a third pregnancy after a birth control failure. With two kids at home, she said she couldn’t afford another. “We knew exactly what we'd be giving up—but also exactly what we'd be getting into if we had another baby … I didn't want to risk our marriage (or my sanity) in addition to our kids' emotional needs.”
Not surprisingly, the financial implications of that last mom are common among women seeking abortion.
According to Guttmacher’s research, nearly half of women who chose an abortion had family incomes lower than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Another 26 percent of patients had incomes that were between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty threshold.
But financial situations can change. As one mom told Redbook, an abortion at a bad time allowed for another baby “a few years later, when we were ready and able to care for her.”