Factors Influencing Decisions to Have Abortions

719 words | 3 page(s)

The issue of abortion is an extremely sensitive one when it comes to providing guidance to clients who are seeking to make a decision about a pregnancy outcome. Mental health professionals and other healthcare providers are in a position to provide a great deal of assistance that is invaluable in regards to the present and future life options for the young women in question. This paper will discuss potential factors that might have an impact on whether or not a client decides to have an abortion, including long and short-term consequences, and the factors that might impact such a decision.

There are several variables that play a substantial role in the young woman’s decision whether or not to have an abortion. Among them is the issue of stigma, i.e., women who have strong feelings about getting pregnant unintentionally, their relationships with their partners, the decision to have an abortion, and the worry about having a procedure that might be painful all play a role in making the decision to have an abortion (Upadhyay, 2010.) In addition, a woman’s socioeconomic status may also play a significant role in making such a decision. If it is clear that having a baby would result in an interruption of her educational plans, making it less likely that she would be able to engage in earning an income that would support her and her child, a young woman may well decide that over the long term, having an abortion is the best option for all involved. In addition, if the young woman perceives that she will not have the resources to raise a child in terms of childcare, concrete financial means to pay for clothing, necessary items such as cribs, strollers, diapers, and other goods, and the emotional support that is necessary for anyone to raise a baby she may indeed make the decision to have an abortion.

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Another factor that sometimes plays a significant role in whether or not a person with an unintended pregnancy ops to have an abortion is the way that she is cared for by the healthcare providers with whom she comes in contact after the positive pregnancy test. Because it is essential that her feelings about having an abortion or having a pregnancy go to term are explored, the way that these variables are addressed may also have an impact on her ultimate decision whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. Emotional care is a highly valued part of abortion services, perhaps the most important factor that has an impact on a decision to pursue termination of a pregnancy (Upadhyay, 2010.)

Certain factors appear to play a more influential role in whether or not a woman decides to have an abortion. Overall, areas of the country that are more deprived socioeconomically have greater rates of conception under the age of 18, and lower proportions of such conceptions which end in abortions; the decisions of many young women to have abortions appear to depend on the economic and social context of their lives, instead of their abstract moral views (Lee, 2004.) Research has indicated that young women who tended to view their lives as unstable were more likely to consider motherhood as something that could potentially alter their lives positively. On the other hand, the young women who were absolutely sure that their futures would be enhanced by achieving educational goals as well as employment success were more likely to choose abortions. In addition, there has been a strong association between the proportion of pregnancies of girls under the age of 18 ending in abortion and the proportion of adult pregnancies which end in abortion, suggesting that familial and/or cultural processes also play a role (Lee, 2004.) Finally, there appear to be strong associations, regardless of levels of deprivation, between greater proportions of abortions and more thorough and available local opportunities for family planning in addition to a higher percentage of female OB/GYN doctors and more opportunities for access to abortion providers.

  • Lee, E., Clements, S., Ingham , R., & Stone, N. (2004, June 30). Influences on young women’s decisions about abortion or motherhood. Retrieved from JRF Foundation: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/influences-young-womens-decisions-about-abortion-or-motherhood
  • Upadhyay, U., Cockrill, K., & Freedman, L. (2010). Informing abortion counseling: an examination of evidence-based practices used in emotional care for other stigmatized and sensitive health issues. Patient Education and Counseling, 415-421.

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