In 2005 Lawrence B. Finer, Lori F. Frohwirth, Lindsay A. Dauphinee, Susheela Singh, and Ann M. Moore of the Guttmacher Institute released an in-depth report entitled Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives. For the purposes of developing a current understanding of women’s reasons for having abortions and how that can inform public debate and policy regarding abortion and unwanted pregnancy, from 1987 to 2004 this group engaged in a structured survey of 1,209 abortion patients at 11 large providers, and in-depth interviews were conducted with 38 women at four sites. What they found to be the most common reasons for procuring an abortion cited were:
- 74% said that having a child would interfere with their woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents.
- 73% said that they could not afford a baby right now; and
- 48% said that they did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems.
The report also found that, “nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child. Fewer than 1% said their parents’ or partners’ desire for them to have an abortion was the most important reason. Younger women often reported that they were unprepared for the transition to motherhood, while older women regularly cited their responsibility to dependents.”
The remainder of the reasons that these women in the study gave for abortion were:
- 38% “have completed [their] childbearing”
- 32% were “not ready for a(nother) child”
- 25% “don’t want people to know I had sex or got pregnant”
- 22% “don’t feel mature enough to raise a(nother) child”
- 14% felt their “husband or partner wants me to have an abortion”
- 13% said there were “possible problems affecting the health of the fetus”
- 12% said there were “physical problems with my health”
- 6% felt their “parents want me to have an abortion”
- 1% said they were “a victim of rape”
The Guttmacher report also found that almost half of pregnancies of American women were unintended, and about half of those unplanned pregnancies (1.3 million) were terminated through abortion. A 2003 Guttmacher Institute report, Facts in Brief – Induced Abortion ( www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html ) found that half of the women who procured abortions claimed that they had used a contraceptive during the month that they became pregnant.
Conversing about the Reasons:
In this section I am going to take the reasons that women give for abortion and respond them in human and heart language. Because no woman gives every single one of these answers for the reason(s) for procuring an abortion, some of my answers may sound redundant, but there are indeed some key issues that need to be raised over and over again. Also, because some of the reasons are similar to others, I will combine a number of them.
WOMAN’S REASON: Having a child would interfere with my life right now (education, work, social life, or ability to care for dependents).
And it is true that this child is going to change your life, and that is precisely what children always do. Children have been disrupting and changing their parent’s lives since humans have been having children. But what you may likely discover is that the change that your child has to offer you is something pretty phenomenal. This is your child – fully apart and of you. He or she deserves you as a mother as much as you deserve them as a child. Why don’t you give your child a chance? I am absolutely sure that he or she will thank you for it not long from now.
WOMAN’S REASON: I just can’t afford to have a(nother) child right now.
* RESPONSE: Ok, first things first; children do not need money, they need love. In that way, you are quite capable of richly loving your child. Second thing is that your financial condition does not give you a license to take the life of an innocent child. You voluntarily gave life to your child and now he or she should be given the same opportunity as you to enter this life and make good and bad decisions. You should reconsider your decision to take that choice away from them.
I am not saying that you have to raise your new child. I believe that God provides us with everything we need in this life, but even you do not believe that, I am sure that you will agree that adoption is a far better option than taking your child’s life. You will be able to sleep much better at night knowing that you gave your child an opportunity to make the most out of their life than you would be in knowing that you killed someone only because at one time your financial condition was not ideal. Money comes and money goes, but to take a human life is permanent. I really hope that you reconsider! If you call 1-800-395-HELP (4357) they can put you in touch with resource centers that can help you prepare for you new child.
WOMAN’S REASON: I don’t want to be a single mother or I don’t feel mature enough.
* RESPONSE: I understand your fear, but know that, first, there is nothing wrong with being a single/a young mother; secondly, you may not always be a single mother/a young mother. Therefore, don’t take the life of your child over a circumstance that may be just temporary. Third, I don’t know you, but I am certain that you a quite capable of being a good mother and being able to love your child to the best of your ability. Moreover, you might be stuck in a vacuum right now and so concerned about being a young/a single mother, but guess who doesn’t care that you are a young/a single mother? Yeah, your child does not care in the least. He or she is going to love you no matter your marital status or age is, so let us reconsider your decision to end the life of your child based upon something that is both temporary and irrelevant. Rather, let us talk about whether you need to get ready to be a young mother/a single mother or if adoption is a better solution than abortion.
WOMAN’S REASON: I have completed my childbearing or I don’t want another child.
* RESPONSE: I understand that you do not want to have another child at this point in your life, but it is also true that no one made you have sex. And because you have had other children you know well that sex sometimes leads to pregnancy, even if you are using contraception. Now that your child has been conceived and is growing inside of you, the decision that you are making is to end the life of your child is because you do not want it. Have you ever considered what your child wants? When do we stop thinking only about what we want and thinking about what is good for the other person? When do we stop living this life-like it is all about us? I am not saying that you need to raise your child; certainly adoption is always a better option to abortion. All I am asking you to do is look at your other children and how happy they are to have a life. Don’t take that same opportunity away from your new child. God has a purpose for you and your child – let that purpose come to fruition.
WOMAN’S REASON: I don’t want people to know I had sex or got pregnant.
* RESPONSE: Ok, let’s deal with a little reality here. You did have sex and you did get pregnant. Correct? Ok, so that is reality. And what you are saying now is that you want to take the life of your child because you don’t want to deal with reality? That is, you want to take the life of your own child only so that you will not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Try this one – how does your feeling of embarrassment or shame compare to the pain that your child will feel once his or her skull or crush or his or her flesh is burned inside of your womb? I will tell you the truth; your embarrassment or shame will pass in a short while, but the knowledge that you choose your reputation over your child’s life will never go away. Now, I am not trying to lay a guilt trip on you, because you haven’t done anything to be guilty of yet. I just want you to weigh your options and motives here and seriously think through them. This is a life or death decision you are making!
WOMAN’S REASON: The person who I am with (or my parent(s)) does not want me to have the child.
* RESPONSE: I believe that it is good for you to consider what your close friends and family have to say about your pregnancy, but at the end of the day this is your decision and your decision alone. You are going to have to be the one that is going to have to live with this decision for the rest of your life. If you get the abortion you will always wonder, for the rest of your life, whether you did the right thing or not. But if you give your child the opportunity to live, you will never have to ask that question, because they will be alive and able to make their own choices. You see, these people in your life are experts in telling what they want you to do, but there is no guarantee that they will always be there. You’ll know if they truly love you if they are willing to stand by you, no matter what decision you make. Nevertheless, please consider adoption over abortion – it is far better to let your child live than to snuff out his or her life without them even having a say in this matter. Again, your child is your family and it is good for you to consider what your friends and family have to say about your pregnancy. What is your child telling you? Does he or she want to live or die right now? God has a plan and a purpose for you and your child. What is he telling you?
WOMAN’S REASON: My physician told me that my child is likely Down Syndrome and recommend that I terminate the pregnancy by aborting it.
* RESPONSE: Let me get this straight – just because your child is going to need extra love and attention, your physician recommends that you that you kill it? What is your physician going to recommend to you next? That you kill your grandparents because they have Alzheimer’s? They had no right to recommend that you take the life of anyone, most especially your own child. That is evil and inhuman of them! None of us are born perfect, but to weed out those of us who ‘might’ be born less perfect is eugenics! Or, rather, let us call it by it real name – Nazism.
Believe me, you are capable of loving your child no matter who they are, and your child needs your unconditional love. I would question the heart of a parent who can think that they cannot love a child that has difficulties and simultaneously believe that they can love a child that does not have difficulties. I would question a parent who wants to love a child who is easy to love and kill a child that is hard to love. Most parents I know would take a child with Down Syndrome over a rebellious teenager any day.
You just need to learn how to believe in yourself and believe in your child. No matter who they are or who they will become they deserve an opportunity to live. God will not place on your more than you can bear. He is ready to give you all the help and grace you need to be loving and patient with your child – just trust him to help you.
WOMAN’S REASON: My physician told me that due to my physical condition that I may be unable to carry the pregnancy to term.
* RESPONSE: Before you proceed, I would like to make sure that you have considered every option possible. Do not underestimate yourself or your child. The stakes are too high here just to go on the recommendation of physician who does not love you or your child. If it is possible that you can carry your child into the second trimester you might at least consider that. Medical technology is advancing is able to keep premature children alive at far younger ages of development than it use to be able to. It is much better to give your child an opportunity than not too. Love does require pain, suffering, and sacrifice. The death of Christ Jesus on the cross is the ultimate example of that for us to follow.
WOMAN’S REASON: My child was born as a result of rape/incest.
* RESPONSE: I understand your reasons for not wanting to give birth to your child, but I do not accept it. I have met so many wonderful human beings who came into this world as a result of the same thing, and they are happy for the opportunity to live this life no matter who their father is. A lot of us have jerks for fathers, but that does not mean that someone should kill us for it. If having a jerk father meant that their child had to be killed then there would be about two people on the planet earth right now. I am not saying that you have to raise your child – that may be difficult for you right now, but please consider adoption over abortion. Life is always better than death, and the real father of your child who is God has a purpose for him or her.
I hope these answers were useful to you; either because you are considering having an abortion or you know someone who is. I don’t pretend that I have all the answers, because I don’t. I am just a guy who wishes he had better answers those times when some women decided to abort my children. My best answer to abortion now is to just wait until marriage to have sex and only have sex with the person who you are married to.