1. Women seeking an abortion were more likely to report experiencing physical and emotional violence.
2. Few women cited domestic violence as a reason for choosing termination of pregnancy.
Evidence Rating Level: 3 (Average)
Study Rundown: This study found that English women seeking termination of pregnancy were more likely to report experiencing both physical and emotional domestic violence than women seeking prenatal care. Past studies have shown that abuse is common among women seeking abortions and suggests that relationship issues were often cited as a reason for choosing abortion.
Limitations include cross-sectional design and convenience sampling, which limits generalizability. Future studies might evaluate associations with additional social factors, further qualify severity of domestic violence in a more demographically diverse population.
Relevant Reading: Prevalence of domestic violence among women seeking abortion services
In-Depth [cross-sectional comparative study]: This study evaluated the prevalence of domestic violence among women seeking care at an abortion clinic (n=274) and women seeking care at a prenatal care clinic (n=219). Outcomes evaluated include prevalence of physical and emotional abuse and reason for electing to terminate the pregnancy.
Women undergoing abortions were more likely to report experiencing physical violence (5.8% vs. 0.9%, p<0.05) and emotional violence (9.9% vs. 1.8%, p<0.0001). The most commonly cited reasons for desiring an abortion were financial concerns and contraception failure; only 2% of women reported a violent relationship contributing to their decision. Women seeking abortion were more likely to be single and less educated and less likely to report being happy in their relationship.
By Denise Pong, MPH and Leah Hawkins, MD, MPH
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