Repeat abortion: is it a problem?

Fam Plann Perspect. 1984 Mar-Apr;16(2):70-5.


As the number of Canadian women who have had induced abortions increases with each succeeding year, the number at risk--and the actual incidence--of repeat abortion also increases. Some researchers have argued that women who have more than one induced abortion are less well adjusted, others that they are less willing to use contraceptives, perhaps because of anxiety about sexuality. Still others have suggested that repeat abortion is unrelated to the psychology or attitudes of individual women, but rather is an inevitable result of imperfect contraceptives, imperfect contraceptive practice and the availability of legal abortion for the termination of unwanted pregnancies. A group of 580 women seeking abortions were interviewed at the Montreal General Hospital and given a number of psychological tests. About one in five of these women were having repeat abortions. The women having repeat abortions were older, less likely to be married and more tolerant of legal abortion than were women having their first abortions. They also had intercourse more frequently than the first-abortion patients. Women obtaining a repeat abortion were slightly more likely to have been using contraceptives at the time they became pregnant, but they did not differ from first-abortion patients in the types of methods that they used. On no other social or demographic characteristics, measures of psychological adjustment or attitudes about sexuality were there any important differences between the groups. A more complex statistical analysis reveals that the two most important factors differentiating first-abortion and repeat-abortion patients are age and coital frequency--both of which are variables that reflect added exposure to the risk of unintended pregnancy.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Canada
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personality
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychological Tests
  • Reoperation
  • Sexual Behavior