Common reasons for abortion
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Why women choose abortion: 10 common reasons

By Sraboni Basu Sunday, October 2, 2016 - 12:32
Abortions are most often a result of unwanted pregnancies. Love Matters brings you 10 common reasons why women or couples seek abortions.

This article is a part of Love Matters’ global campaign, in partnership with WGNRR, #StepIntoOurShoes for access to safe and legal abortion.

  1. Failed contraceptive: Research shows this is one of the most common reasons for abortion. All contraceptives have a failure rate, so even when you use it perfectly, there’s always a small chance of pregnancy.

    Read more about the effectiveness of contraceptives here.
  2. Financial status: A study released by Guttmacher Institute in 2005 states additional financial responsibility that comes with a baby as a reason why single women or couples go for an abortion.
  3. Marital status and social norms: Social norms in many parts of India shun children born out of wedlock. To avoid the social stigma, fear of familial rejection and abuse resulting from having a child out of wedlock, unmarried women might choose abortion as a safe way out.
  4. Relationship issues: Guttmacher Institute’s study also suggests that women might not want to continue with a pregnancy if their relationship with their partner is at a precarious stage or if the husband or partner is not in the favour of a child.

    Read our My Story on rebuilding a relationship after an abortion.
  5. Career or education: Very often, single women or couples choose abortion as the baby might interfere with their career or educational plans.

    If you support access to safe and legal abortion, watch and share this video now!

  • Not wanting to expand the family: Women who already have children and do not want any more go with the decision to abort. A research from the Department of Health, UK says that this is more common among older women.
  • Medical conditions: Cases where tests reveal genetic or birth defects in the foetus, usually are aborted, especially if detected in early pregnancy says another research. Also women with serious health conditions might be advised to undergo abortion fearing for the child’s and their own health. Victims of severe drug or alcohol abuse opt for abortion fearing the impact of abuse on the health of the baby.

    It is important to understand that abortion performed at unsafe places may lead to medical complications, even death.
  • Age: A study suggests that highest number of abortions in urban India are chosen by women under 20 years. Women who are too young or too old to bear a child go for abortion thinking of the social, medical and financial implications.

  • #StepIntoOurShoes
  • Incest or abuse: Victims of rape or incestuous sexual acts also choose abortion. However, in India, if you’re pregnant beyond 20 weeks, it is illegal to abort a foetus. In the past, the Supreme Court has allowed women, especially rape victims to seek an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy under special circumstances.

    Section 5 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) act states that abortion after 20 weeks is permissible only if there are substantial foetal abnormalities or pregnancy causing averse effects to the health of women. Unfortunately, the MTP act only accounts to married women in India.
  • Sex-selection: In certain cases, sadly, the woman is forced or coerced by her immediate family or partner to abort if tests reveal a female foetus. In India, as a measure to put an end to such cases, gender determination of a foetus is illegal.

    Know more about sex-selective abortions across the world.
  • An abortion is a deeply personal and strong life decision that a woman takes. Supporting her throughout the process will only help her come out of it stronger and healthier.

    Source: Reasons Why Women Have Induced Abortions: Evidence from 27 Countries by Guttmacher Institute.

    Know more reasons why women seek abortions? Share them in comments below or start a discussion on Facebook. If you have any questions, please visit our discussion forum.

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