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Why Do Women Have Abortions?

Women have abortions for all kind of reasons. Having an abortion is a very personal decision, so the reasons why one woman decides to end her pregnancy may cause another to choose adoption while a third will decide to raise the child herself.

The Five Categories of Abortion in the UK

Abortions in the UK can be carried out for five main reasons according to the law. Four of these are only rarely cited as the main reason, although multiple reasons are often given:

  • Less than 1% to protect the life of the mother
  • Less than 1% to prevent grave and permanent physical or mental injury to the mother
  • About 1% to protect the physical or mental wellbeing of existing children (only before 24 weeks)
  • About 2% because of a substantial risk of serious physical or mental abnormalities

The fifth reason therefore accounts for almost 97% of all abortions in the UK. It enables women to access terminations before 24 weeks if continuing the pregnancy poses a greater risk to their physical or mental health than if they end it. In this case, the effects do not have to be grave or permanent.

Why Do Women Consider Abortion?

Pregnancy, labour and parenthood can affect a woman’s life in all kinds of ways. Women have many different concerns during pregnancy, especially when it was unplanned. Here are some of the reasons why women may decide to have an abortion in order to protect their own wellbeing:

  • Timing of the pregnancy would harm her education or career
  • Financial instability or difficulty providing a secure home and the type of upbringing that she would like to offer her children
  • Relationship problems, such as feeling the father is unsuitable or not being able to manage single parenthood
  • Not feeling ready or able to care for a child, already caring for another family member (such as an older parent or young baby), or feeling that she is done with childrearing and her family is complete

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