U.K. Study Finds Women Having Repeat Abortions More Likely to Be Abused

A new British study has found that women having repeat abortions were more likely to be in an abusive relationship.

The study, published in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, the journal of the Royal College of Ob-Gyns., found that 30 percent of women having a second abortion reported being in an abusive relationship and that the number increased for women having three or more abortions. One in three women in the study said they had experienced sexual and physical abuse throughout their lives.1

The research follows a U.S. study published last December showing that women who had abortions were more likely to report a history of sexual abuse and to have experienced stressful events in adulthood, such as miscarriage, physical violence or being in a life-threatening accident. The U.S. researchers noted that women who experience domestic violence are more likely to abort compared to women who are not in violent situations. 

And a New Zealand study published last August found that one in 10 women reported being abused while pregnant and that abused women were 2.5 times more likely to undergo an abortion compared to women who were not abused.

While many men do want to have the child and support the mother to continue the pregnancy, the research comes amidst growing concern about widespread unwanted abortions due to pressure, coercion or violence. In some cases, violence can turn deadly, with studies listing homicide as the leading cause of death for pregnant women in the U.S. In a number of cases, women have been killed or assaulted after refusing to have an abortion.

Earlier this month, the popular men’s web site AskMen.com published an article (see below) offering advice to men on how to coerce their partners into an unwanted abortion. The article was eventually removed from the site after numerous negative comments and complaints by readers and pro-life organizations.

Evidence also suggests that abortion can increase the risk of later violence. A U.S. study published earlier this year found that both women and men who had been involved in an abortion with their current partner were more likely to report domestic violence compared to those with no abortion history. They were also more likely to feel that they would be better off if the relationship ended.

The authors of the U.K. study wrote that no matter what one’s position is on abortion, “there must be common ground that violence against pregnant women is intolerable. Doctors and health professionals working in a woman’s health sector that provides abortion services are in a prime position to identify and provide support for women experiencing domestic violence.” The new study also seems to point to the need to ensure that women and girls are not being pressured, coerced or abused to force them into unwanted abortions. The Elliot Institute’s model bill would hold abortion businesses liable for failing to screen for factors that put women at risk for unwanted abortions and for psychological problems as a result of abortion.

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