One out of every four women seeking an abortion has been or is being abused by their partner according to new research* released this week.
The study shows a strong association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and abortion.
“These findings reinforce the fact that there is a significant relationship between abortion and violence against women,” LIFE spokeswoman Michaela Aston says, “and that this relationship becomes stronger with repeat terminations.” In one study, for example, women presenting for a third termination were more than 2.5 times more likely to have a history of physical or sexual violence than women presenting for their first termination.
The meta-analysis of 74 studies from around the world supports the concept that violence can lead to pregnancy and to subsequent termination of pregnancy, and that there may be a repetitive cycle of abuse and pregnancy. Moreover, women in violent relationships were three times as likely to conceal a termination from their partner as women in non-violent relationships.
“These findings should be taken very seriously,” says Michaela. “We cannot buy into the notion any longer that abortion represents ‘freedom of choice’. This study confirms our experience – that a large number of women and girls seeking abortion are amongst the most vulnerable in society.
“Of the 200,000 or so abortions carried out in the UK every year, this research suggests that 50,000 are or have been victims of intimate partner violence. We are told in the UK that it is a simple case of improving access to and use of contraception but the abortion industry is letting down a significant proportion of women by measuring their success in such an overly simplistic way.
“So we ask, again, will abortion providers offer independent counselling to all women seeking abortion? Will they give women an opportunity to disclose their experiences and intervene to help those experiencing IPV? The abortion industry has a chance here to help women and make a positive impact on violence against women. Will they take it?”
*Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Termination of Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis