More information for the abortion conversation

Some serious research this time, instead of shonky newspaper polls.

It turns out, contra the frothers, that women do not use abortion as a form of contraception.*

Abortion not used as birth control

Researchers at Flinders University interviewed 965 women aged over 30 who came to Adelaide’s largest abortion clinic. It turned out that 62% of them were using contraception when they became pregnant, and that most of the rest had some good reason for not having been using contraception when they became pregnant, such as, “cultural bans, thinking they could never have children, having been raped or having had what was thought to have been “permanent” birth-control surgery.”

The study comes on top of earlier research showing that 70% of women under 30 were using contraception when they became pregnant.

For whatever reason women choose abortion, it’s not because they regard it as a form of contraception.

The research is published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health, which I don’t have access to because the 2010 issues of the journal aren’t available on-line yet. It will be interesting to read the whole study, and find out a little more about why some women were not using contraception. I imagine that the reasons will be many and varied, but that no one will say that it was because they like having abortions instead.

* I hunted down a series of frother links, but having read them, I’m really not interested at all in giving them any airtime on my blog. If you really want to take a look for yourself, type “using abortion as a contraceptive” into google, and scan through the first few pages. You’ll find them.


4 responses to “More information for the abortion conversation

  1. Sad as it makes me to report, and certainly this is going back twenty or thirty years or more, my sister (then a midwife) spent a lot of time with mid-teenage girls who were back for their second or third abortion and who when questioned said they’d not been using contraception because the boy didn’t like it and they lerved the boy and didn’t want him to dump them, or they wanted to get pregnant so the boy would have to marry them, a belief in which they had apparently been encouraged by their mothers. I’m fairly sure they weren’t in the majority even then — and that such beliefs and behaviour were prevalent only in particular teenage subcultures — but it was enough of a pattern for my sis to be in despair about it.

  2. Afterthought: of course I know the above is anecdata. But it occurs to me too (and did occur to me at the time) that what young girls say to nurses on the ward in the small hours often doesn’t make it into official statistics. And I’ve since become convinced that education has limited effectiveness because most people’s behaviour and opinions are determined by whichever of their personal subcultures is/are the most powerful, and, alas for those teenagers, that’s usually not school.

  3. I lived in a country where abortion was an unofficial method of birth control. But that was because ‘good’ girls were virgins before marriage… so having contraception must mean you were ‘bad.’

  4. I have read of similar study results elsewhere, ages ago – that a very high proportion of women undergoing abortions were in fact using contraception at the time, and had gotten pregnant with their spouse (as opposed to being a single woman not keeping herself virginal before marriage).