Women Who Seek Abortions ‘Seven Times’ More Likely To Be Abused

By Amir Khan on August 22, 2012 12:16 PM EDT

exercising woman
Women who seek abortions are seven times more likely to be abused than women who do not, according to a new study (Photo: Creative Commons)

Women who seek abortions are seven times more likely to be abused than women who do not, according to a new study, published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care. Researchers also found that poorer women were more likely to terminate their pregnancy than more affluent women.

Approximately 9,500 women completed a questionnaire distributed by staff at abortion clinics in 2008. Seven percent of the women surveyed admitted to being physically or sexually abused by the father of their child. National surveys have found that one percent of U.S. women are abused by their spouse -- meaning women who seek abortions are seven times as likely to have been abused.

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Researchers also found that women who sought abortion services were more likely to be unemployed, poor or separated from their partners than the national average.  Poor women accounted for 42 percent of the 1.21 million abortions performed in 2008, and poor women were twice as likely to admit to being physically or sexually abused.

"Most women accessing abortion services in the USA had dealt with at least one disruptive event in the 12 months preceding the abortion," the study concluded.

Researchers said the numbers should be looked at as a "conservative" estimate, as many women are reluctant to report abuse or rape.

The findings come shortly after controversial remarks made by a Republican senatorial candidate on the topic.

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors, (pregnancy from rape) is really rare," Representative Todd Akin said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

However, recent studies have found that five percent of rape cases result in pregnancy and that rape causes approximately 32,000 pregnancies every year, according to the Agence-France Presse

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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