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Journal Article

The Characteristics and Prior Contraceptive Use of U.S. Abortion Patients

Stanley K. Henshaw and Jane Silverman
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 20, No. 4 (Jul. - Aug., 1988), pp. 158-159+162-168
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2135791
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2135791
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Characteristics and Prior Contraceptive Use of U.S. Abortion Patients
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Abstract

Hispanic women are 60 percent more likely than non-Hispanics to have an unintended pregnancy that they terminate by abortion, but they are less likely than nonwhites to do so. Women who profess no religion have a higher abortion rate than do women who report some religious affiliation; among the latter, Catholics are about as likely to obtain an abortion as are all women nationally, while Protestants and Jews are less likely to do so. One in six abortion patients in 1987 described themselves as born-again or Evangelical Christians; such women are half as likely as other American women to obtain abortions. Unmarried cohabiting women are nine times as likely as married women living with their husbands to have an abortion, and separated women are also at high risk. Other characteristics associated with an above-average likelihood of abortion are current school enrollment, current employment, low income, Medicaid coverage, intention to have no more children and residence in a metropolitan county. Half of all abortion patients in 1987 were practicing contraception during the month in which they conceived, and a substantial proportion of those who were not doing so had stopped using a method only a few months before becoming pregnant. The majority of abortion patients who had stopped using a method prior to becoming pregnant said they had most recently used the pill. Nonuse of a method of birth control among abortion patients is greatest for those who are young, poor, black, Hispanic or less educated.

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