Thursday, December 01, 2005

From the Trenches: Why Women have Abortions

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are as many reasons as there are individuals, but I thought I'd give you a peek at the reality (as opposed to the stereotypes). So here goes, from what I've seen in my short carreer as an abortion counselor, this is why women do it: (by the way, please please send comments to augment the list.)

One more note: It can be challenging, even if you consider yourself to be pro-choice, not to pass judgment. We are all unique individuals, so it isn't surprising that when we imagine ourselves in someone else's shoes, we picture taking different steps. But ask yourself as you read these, if you are subconsciously grading people's reasons, or even their shoes. Thoughtful responses are encouraged, no points of view are barred here. But disrespectful and mean-spirited commenters will be promptly ejected. thanks~

Reasons women give for having abortions:

Because she doesn't think it's fair to her existing children. The strain, financially and otherwise, would be too much.

Because she wants to finish school or work on her carreer.

Because she doesn't want to burden her parents or the welfare system with the responsibility of a child she can't possibly care for on their own.

Because she worries about the drugs they take creating an unhealthy child.

Because the FOP (father of pregnancy) disappeared as soon as he found out or before he even found outand she doesn't want to raise a child alone.

Because the FOP died and she doesn't want to raise a child without him.

Because if she went through with the pregnancy, she wouldn't be able to give up her child for adoption (but can't care for it, for any of many reasons).

Because she believes she would make a bad parent.

Because her husband/boyfriend isn't the FOP.

Because her previous pregnancies were very hard on her physically,

Because of physical problems, pregnancy is a threat to her own life.

Because if she went through with the pregnancy, the child is likely to or would defintely have a serious disability.

Because she's struggling to survice in an abusive relationship, and her partner would blame her for the burden of another child.

Because her previous children are finally grown, and she feels too old to go through it again.

Because, for a combination of reasons (see above and below) she believes it's the right thing to do.

Because she was raped and the pregnancy seems like further violation.

Because she doesn't have the money to support a child.

Because she cares full-time for an ill and aging parent/relative, and believes she wouldn't be able to give a child the attention it would need.

Because she already has X number of children and doesn't want more.

Because she doesn't want to have kids at all, ever.

Because she's not ready to be a parent.

Because her own parents talked her/scared her out of it.

Here's another list, also nowhere near comprehensive, of reasons women give for unwanted pregnancies:

Because she didn't have the skills/confidence/guidance to think well about birth control.

Because she didn't feel comfortable insisting that her partner use a condom.

Because the birth control pill she was using made her feel sick/bleed incessantly/made her irritable, so she stopped taking it.

She was about to start a new perscription next cycle.

No one told her that hormonal birth control (like the pill, or patch) is unreliable if you take antibiotics.

No one told her the pill is unreliable if you have a stomach flu or diarrea, or if you don't take it at close to the same time each day.

No one told her about Plan B (also known as "the morning after pill" or "emergency contraception" which can prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex).

The condom broke, or fell off, or was too old to be effective, or was tampered with.

Because she lost her insurance coverage, and can't afford birth control on her own.

Because she wasn't sexually active, didn't anticipate becoming sexually active, and then me this guy...

Because he didn't withdraw when he said he would.

Because she was "drunk and stupid" (her own words).

Because she was raped.

Because she didn't think she could get pregnant at all, and therefore didn't use birth control.

Because it was the first cycle after a previous abortion, and she didn't understand that she could get pregnant again right away.

Because in spite of proper use, the condom/diaphram/nuva ring/birth control pill/patch/spermicide/sponge/IUD/tubal ligation failed to prevent pregnancy.

Because she didn't know she was fertile yet (after recently giving birth).

Because the pregnancy was intentional, but then circumstances changed (see above: deadbeat partner, death of partner, health concerns, etc)


brainhell said...

> No one told her the pill is unreliable if you take antibiotics.

I had no idea.

HappyGirl said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

i have just read a few entries in your blog and i find them to be very good so far :)

i have been a member at (moderator there for many years) and i found your descriptions on this post to be very accurate.

Anonymous said...

I had an abortion at 15, my parents really gave me no other choice. I think about it a lot lately, since pregnancy is often on my mind. I'm 33 now, married to a great man for 8 years, and we just recently were able to get pregnant and have a child. I had begun to think that I'd lost my chance, maybe for waiting too long, but what if the reason was related to that decision that was made for me 18 years ago...

Ally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.