A need to expand our thinking about "repeat" abortions

Contraception. 2012 Apr;85(4):408-12. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2011.09.003. Epub 2011 Oct 27.


Background: Women who have more than one abortion are often the "targets" for social and clinical interventions geared at preventing "repeat abortions." Such an approach ignores the unique circumstances that may surround each abortion.

Study design: We qualitatively analyzed the history of 10 women who have had more than one abortion who were participating in a larger study of women's emotional experiences following abortion. Women were recruited following their initial contact with a postabortion support talk line and from a previously completed study.

Results: Overall, women in the sample reported that each abortion was different and some abortions were more emotionally difficult than others, suggesting that the phrase "repeat" can be a misnomer and discounts the unique circumstances surrounding each abortion.

Conclusion: Rather than use the term "repeat abortions," we advocate for the use of the less loaded term "multiple abortions," in which each abortion is understood as a unique experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women / psychology