The literature on partners and abortion focuses on intimate partner violence (IPV) and risk for abortion, and partners' control of women's abortion decisions. This paper examines how partners figure in women's abortion decisions, and identifies factors associated with identifying partner as a reason (PAR) for abortion.
Baseline data were used from the Turnaway Study, a longitudinal study among women (n = 954) seeking abortion at 30 U.S. facilities between 2008 and 2010. Mixed methods were used. Data were analyzed using thematic coding and logistic regression.
Nearly one third of women reported PAR for abortion. Three most common partner-related reasons were poor relationships, partners unable/unwilling to support a baby, and partner characteristics that made them undesirable to have a baby with. Eight percent who mentioned PAR identified having abusive partners as a reason for abortion. One woman in this subgroup reported being pressured by her partner to seek abortion, whereas others in this subgroup sought abortion to end abusive relationships or to avoid bringing children into abusive relationships. Factors associated with identifying PAR for seeking abortion included race, education, partner's pregnancy intentions, relationship with man involved in the pregnancy, and experience of IPV.
Women make decisions to terminate pregnancies considering the quality of the relationship with and potential support they will receive from the man involved. Even women who report IPV, who may be vulnerable to coercion, report their motivation for the abortion is to end an abusive relationship, rather than coercion into abortion.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
- Understanding why women seek abortion in the US.BMC Women's Health. 2013; 13: 29
- Reproductive health consequences of intimate partner violence. A nursing research review.Clinical Nursing Research. 2000; 9: 217-237
- The wavering line in the sand: The effects of domestic violence and sexual coercion.Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2003; 24: 723-738
- Does physical intimate partner violence affect sexual health? A systematic review.Trauma, Violence & Abuse. 2007; 8: 149-177
- Recruitment and retention strategies for minority or poor clinical research participants: Lessons from the healthy aging in neighborhoods of diversity across the life span study.Gerontologist. 2011; 51: S33-S45
- Prevalence of domestic violence among women seeking abortion services.Women's Health Issues. 1996; 6: 204-210
- Women and abortion: Attitudes, social networks, decision-making.Social Work in Health Care. 1985; 11: 85-99
- Reasons U.S. women have abortions: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives.Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2005; 37: 110-118
- Attitudes and decision making among women seeking abortions at one U.S. clinic.Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2012; 44: 117-124
- Effect of abortion protesters on women's emotional response to abortion.Contraception. 2013; 87: 81-87
- WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence against women: Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women's responses.World Health Organization, Geneva2005
- The prevalence of domestic violence among women seeking abortion.Obstetrics and Gynecology. 1998; 91: 1002-1006
- Patient education and emotional support practices in abortion care facilities in the United States.Women's Health Issues. 2012; 22: 359-364
- Impact of partner abuse on women's reproductive lives.Journal of the American Medical Women's Association. 2005; 60: 42-45
- Who has second-trimester abortions in the United States?.Contraception. 2012; 85: 544-551
- Changes in abortion rates between 2000 and 2008 and lifetime incidence of abortion.Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011; 117: 1358-1366
- Perceptions of male knowledge and support among U.S. women obtaining abortions.Womens Health Issues. 2011; 21: 117-123
- Reasons women give for abortion: A review of the literature.Archives of Women's Mental Health. 2009; 12: 365-378
- Pregnancy motivations and contraceptive use: Hers, his, or theirs?.Womens Health Issues. 2010; 20: 234-241
- Pregnancy coercion, intimate partner violence and unintended pregnancy.Contraception. 2010; 81: 316-322
- Male reproductive control of women who have experienced intimate partner violence in the United States.Social Science and Medicine. 2010; 70: 1737-1744
- Reporting participation in epidemiologic studies: A survey of practice.American Journal of Epidemiology. 2006; 163: 197-203
- Alcohol, tobacco and drug use as reasons for abortion.Alcohol and Alcoholism. 2012; 47: 640-648
- Modern Epidemiology.Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia2008
- An exploration of the dimensions of pregnancy intentions among women choosing to terminate pregnancy or to initiate prenatal care in New Orleans, Louisiana.American Journal of Public Health. 2006; 96: 2009-2015
- Latina adolescents' perceptions of their male partners' influences on childbearing: Findings from a qualitative study in California.Culture Health & Sexuality. 2011; 13: 873-886
- Male perpetration of intimate partner violence and involvement in abortions and abortion-related conflict.American Journal of Public Health. 2010; 100: 1415-1417
- Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (2nd ed.).Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA1998
- Birth control sabotage and forced sex: Experiences reported by women in domestic violence shelters.Violence Against Women. 2010; 16: 601-612
- Why do women have abortions?.Family Planning Perspectives. 1988; 20: 169-176
- Neighborhood and individual-level violence and unintended pregnancy.Journal of Urban Health. 2010; 87: 677-687
- Intimate partner violence, pregnancy and the decision for abortion.Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2009; 30: 272-278
- Abortion disclosure and the association with domestic violence.Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2005; 105: 1329-1334
Karuna S. Chibber, DrPH, is a public health social scientist with Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. Her research focuses on the intersection of intimate partner violence and women's health.
M. Antonia Biggs, PhD, is a senior researcher at the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. Her research focuses on the evaluation of reproductive health programs, access to family planning services, abortion, and unintended pregnancy.
Sarah C.M. Roberts, DrPH, is a public health social scientist at ANSIRH. She studies policy and social determinants of women's health, with a focus on alcohol and drug use in the context of pregnancy, parenting, and reproductive health.
Diana Greene Foster, PhD, a demographer, is the principal investigator of the Turnaway Study, Director of Research at ANSIRH, and an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF.
Accepted: October 21, 2013
Received in revised form: October 20, 2013
Received: December 21, 2012
© 2014 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.