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Are Abortions Used as Birth Control?

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Let's look at the most common statistic prolifers use when arguing that women use abortion as birth control: The rate of repeat abortions. Since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, the percent of abortions done on women who have already had at least one abortion has climbed steadily. This chart was compiled from data in CDC Abortion Surviellance Summaries:

Year Previous Abortions Total %
0 1 2 >3 Repeat
1974 75.2% 9.8% 1.3% 0.4% 11.5%
1976 70.9% 14.8% 2.4% 0.8% 18.0%
1978 66.9% 20.9% 5.0% 1.7% 27.6%
1980 64.4% 22.4% 6.3% 2.2% 30.9%
1982 56.2% 19.7% 13.5% 5.0% 38.2%
1984 57.8% 24.5% 9.0% 4.1% 37.6%
1986 55.4% 24.7% 8.9% 4.8% 38.4%
1988 56.4% 26.2% 10.2% 4.8% 41.2%
1990 56.2% 26.4% 10.0% 5.8% 42.2%
1992 54.2% 26.9% 10.8% 6.4% 44.1%
1994 53.7% 26.6% 10.9% 6.8% 44.3%
1996 53.2% 26.4% 11.0% 7.1% 44.5%

The repeat abortion rate has recently leveled off at roughly 45% -- meaning that nearly half of women undergoing abortions have had at least one prior abortion. And there are roughly as many women having 4th, 5th, 6th and subsequent abortions as are having abortions for rape, incest, fetal indications, and maternal health combined.

And repeat abortions don't stop at 3 or 4 or 5 or 6. During a session at a National Abortion Federation meeting, one counselor vented her frustration about a woman who had come to their clinic for 20 abortions. This woman was openly using abortion as her chosen method of birth control, and the counselor was admonished by the moderator to respect this choice.

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For more on abortion numbers:
Abortion Statistics

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