What are the Most Common Reasons for Abortion?

Bethney Foster

There are a multitude of reasons that women choose to end pregnancies. The most common reason, estimated to be the cause in about half of terminated pregnancies as of 2011, is the failure of contraception. Other common reasons for abortion are a woman’s inability to care for a child, because the child will be born with severe medical issues, or because the woman’s life will be in danger if the pregnancy continues. Some pregnancies are also terminated when the pregnancy was a result of rape

Reasons given for abortion may include rape.
Reasons given for abortion may include rape.

Estimates are that more than 1 million pregnancies, or a quarter of all pregnancies, are terminated in the U.S. alone each year. Most of these are performed during the first trimester of the pregnancy, and more than half of women choosing abortion are younger than age 25. For women younger than age 18, the reasons for abortion may be different than for older women.

One reason a woman may opt for abortion is she feels she is unable to raise the child as a single mother.
One reason a woman may opt for abortion is she feels she is unable to raise the child as a single mother.

The most common reasons for abortion among teenagers is the girl not feeling mature enough to have a child, that having a child would negatively impact her future, and as if she doesn’t have the ability to support a child. Other common reasons for abortion among teenagers is the girl’s reluctance for others to know she is pregnant and that she has had sex. The girl’s parents may also want her to have an abortion.

Birth defects discovered during prenatal genetic testing could cause a couple to abort the child.
Birth defects discovered during prenatal genetic testing could cause a couple to abort the child.

If the mother has a difficult or no relationship with the father of the child, this is a factor in the reasons for abortion, especially if the woman is unwilling to be a single mother. The father of the child may want the mother to have an abortion. For many women, affording the health care necessary in carrying a pregnancy and giving birth is not within their means. Many do not have health insurance.

Failure of contraception is a common reason for abortion.
Failure of contraception is a common reason for abortion.

The reasons for abortion may be different if the mother is older. Many older women do not want more children or do not want to go through child-rearing again. Among older women, the reasons for abortion are more likely to be that the mother’s health is compromised or that the baby is likely to have abnormalities that will make it impossible for him or her to lead a normal life.

Studies show that when choosing to terminate a pregnancy many women have multiple reasons for abortion. A combination of financial reasons and the future impact of raising a child are the most commonly cited. In other instances, the woman might cite cultural pressures to terminate a pregnancy along with pressures from family members that she have an abortion.

Many women simply can not afford the health care necessary to carry and birth a child.
Many women simply can not afford the health care necessary to carry and birth a child.

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