Why do women present late for induced abortion?

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2010 Aug;24(4):479-89. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


This article summarises the findings of studies relating to why women present for abortion at gestations of more than 12 weeks. Its primary focus is on British experience, but relevant studies from other countries are described. Key findings reveal that there are many different reasons. Much of the delay occurs prior to women requesting an abortion; other key issues include women's concerns about what is involved in having the abortion and aspects of relationships with their partners and/or parents. Further, after requesting an abortion, delays are partly 'service-related' - for example, waiting for appointments - and partly 'woman-related' for example, missing or cancelling appointments. The relative contributions to the delay of these various factors are discussed. The implications of the research for abortion education and service provision are considered. Abortion for reasons linked to foetal abnormality is not covered in this article.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Delayed Diagnosis / psychology*
  • Delayed Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Global Health
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second*
  • Wales / epidemiology
  • Young Adult