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.
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