Study objective: To study social differences between women seeking induced abortion (cases) and women completing their pregnancy (controls).
Design: Case-control study.
Study setting: Data were collected through a structured personal interview of 404 abortion-seeking women and 404 women giving birth at the Gynaecological and Obstetric wards, University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway during 1983.
Statistical method: Logistic regression analyses.
Results and conclusion: The prospect of single parenthood was the strongest determinant in describing the difference between abortion-seeking women and women giving birth. In addition, variables such as parity, age, housing situation, previous abortion history, attitudes towards abortion and occupational status were all found to be significant when describing the differences between the two study groups. After confirmation of a positive pregnancy test only women stating unplanned pregnancy face a real decision about what to do. By restricting the control group to women stating unintended pregnancy, the multivariate analyses showed a reduced estimate of the respective odds ratios of choosing abortion in all important variables, while parameters such as "age" and "occupational status" became insignificant. Women in favour of the liberal abortion legislation decided more often on pregnancy termination than women opposed to the law of abortion on demand. However, among those women opposed to the law who still underwent an induced abortion, the same social and demographic characteristics were significant for the decision regarding termination as for the total study group. The study demonstrates the heterogeneity of the group of women terminating their pregnancy and how complex the decision regarding pregnancy termination might be.