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Are Abortions Used as Birth Control?

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With roughly 1.3 million abortions a year in the United States, many people wonder: Are women just using abortion as a method of birth control?

There are different school of thought on this question. Some prolife hardliners hold that unless the pregnancy is the result of non-consensual sex, or some health problem in mother or fetus is discovered during pregnancy, then the abortion is being used as to ensure that the woman has a baby only when she wants to have a baby. This meets their definition of "abortion for birth control." And there is a certain validity to their reasoning.

According to a study published in Family Planning Perspectives: 3% of women abort because of concerns that there is something wrong with the fetus; 3% of women abort because of concerns for their own health, and 1% abort because they are pregnant through rape or incest. That totals 7%, leaving 93% of abortions being done for birth control, by this rather loose concept of what constitutes an "abortion for birth control."

The reasons the women give most often (woman is unready for responsibility; woman can't afford a baby right now) do seem like birth control reasons. The vague, "woman is concerned about how having a baby could change her life," likewise sounds like a birth control reason. The data do support the contention that most abortions are for reasons of birth control. But there are other schools of thought.

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For more on abortion numbers:
Abortion Statistics

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