While the abortion rate in the U.S. is at an historic low, there are still more than 600,000 abortions reported in our nation every year, and close to one in four women will undergo an abortion in their lifetime. The mothers and fathers who have chosen abortion are not strangers: They are in our cities, communities, and churches. What are the choices they are facing that lead them to the conclusion that the best option is to violently destroy a defenseless child in the womb?
The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, once the research arm of Planned Parenthood, has compiled data on the reasons why women choose abortion. The most recent survey was conducted by Guttmacher in 2004. 1,209 women who had undergone elective abortion at 11 different abortion facilities completed a survey, and researchers interviewed 38 women at four of the locations.
In the survey, most respondents chose multiple reasons from a list of more than a dozen possibilities. The 2004 study and a similar study from 1987 both show that the most commonly cited reasons for choosing abortion were: having the baby would interfere with the mother’s education, work, or caring for other children; the inability to afford another baby; and not wanting to be a singe mother or having a troubled relationship with the baby’s father.
As a previous article on Save the Storks noted, while these were the most commonly cited reasons, they do not tell the whole story. The data, not mentioned in the synopsis by the pro-abortion researchers, show that the most common primary reason for undergoing an abortion was: “Not ready for a(nother) child/timing is wrong.” As the Guttmacher has noted elsewhere, this is consistent with the finding that abortions most often result from unintended pregnancies. Having an unintended pregnancy coupled with financial concerns, unstable relationships, and education and career challenges can converge to make women think abortion is their only option.
The researchers dismiss this obvious fact, claiming “our findings attest that women independently make the decision to have an abortion” and are not coerced into it. And yet, later they state that the in-depth interviews showed that “abortion was not something they [the mothers] desired,” but that to many it appeared to be “their best (and sometimes only) option.” If a mother perceives no other possibility besides violently ending her child’s life, which she does not want to do, this is not “choice,” “liberation” or “women’s empowerment.” This is a total lack of choice.
Demeaning women and telling them to “use contraception,” as some misguided pro-lifers have unfortunately done, is an inadequate and uncompassionate response. Contraception can and does fail, and the majority of women seeking elective abortion were using contraception in the month they conceived. As evidenced by the multiple reasons cited for turning to abortion, women do not need a condescending lecture. They need real options and support for their families.
The abortion industry has created the myth that having a child is solely the choice of his or her mother and ending that child’s life in a violent procedure is a form of liberation. The tragic consequence of this lie is that women now believe choosing life for their child is also solely their responsibility, a belief reinforced by the pre-abortion “counseling” abortion facilities offer.
Perhaps nowhere was this as evident as in the pro-abortion researchers’ analysis of women’s attitudes toward adoption. They write, more than one-third of the women they interviewed said they “had considered adoption and concluded that it was a morally unconscionable option because giving one’s child away is wrong.” The fact that mothers believe their only choices are to solely provide for and raise a child or kill that innocent son or daughter in the womb is a devastating symptom of the culture of death perpetuated by the abortion industry.
But there is hope. From this data, it is clear that you can make the difference in how a mother views her options in a crisis pregnancy. Save the Storks and the pregnancy resource centers across the country that they partner with are giving mothers a legitimate choice for her child. By providing support throughout pregnancy and the first years of a child’s life, pregnancy resource centers mitigate some of the factors that make abortion seem necessary. In many situations, community support makes all the difference. For example, Rosliani discovered she was pregnant while facing deportation, homelessness, and poverty. The message from our society was that abortion was her only option. It was by stepping on a Stork Bus in Silver Spring, Maryland, that Rosliani learned abortion was not her only option, and today she is the proud mother of one-year-old Emmanuel.
There are other mothers is difficult circumstances who want to hear that abortion is not the only option. If truly given a choice, many mothers choose life.