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Abortion - Reasons Women Choose Abortion

The decision to continue your pregnancy or to end it is very personal.

Each year, nearly 1.2 million American women have an abortion to end a pregnancy.2

The most common reasons women consider abortion are:

  • Birth control (contraceptive) failure. Over half of all women who have an abortion used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.2
  • Inability to support or care for a child.
  • To end an unwanted pregnancy.
  • To prevent the birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problems. Such defects are often unknown until routine second-trimester tests are done.
  • Pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.
  • Physical or mental conditions that endanger the woman's health if the pregnancy is continued.

In the United States, 9 out of 10 abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks (first trimester) of pregnancy. Most of these are done within the first 9 weeks of pregnancy.2

Very few abortions are done after 16 weeks of pregnancy. But some women have to delay abortions because they have trouble with paying for, finding, or traveling to an abortion specialist.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 05, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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