August 23, 2012 —Most women face abortion decisions amidst complex and difficult life circumstances, according to a study in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.
For the study, Guttmacher Institute researchers analyzed data on nearly 9,500 women who obtained abortions in 2008. More than half (57.4%) experienced at least one disruptive event in the past year, such as being out of work for at least one month (19.9%), separating from a partner or husband (16.2%) or falling behind on their mortgage or rent (14.4%).
Disruptive Events Tied to Poverty Status
The researchers noted that abortion in the U.S. "has become increasingly concentrated among poor women."
Similarly, they found that exposure to disruptive life events was more common among women with incomes at or below the federal poverty level. Specifically, 62.8% of women with incomes below 100% of the poverty level experienced a disruptive event, compared with 48.9% of women with incomes of 200% or more of the poverty level.
The proportion of women who experienced at least three disruptive events was more than double among women with the lowest incomes (14.6%) than among those with the highest incomes (6.5%) in the study.
Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence -- including physical abuse and forced sexual acts -- also was more than twice as common among women at the lowest income level (9.3%) than among those with incomes above 200% of the poverty level (4.4%).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership