Many women choose to have an abortion for different reasons, but there may be a common link between them.
The majority of women seeking abortions in 2008 experienced one or more disruptive events 12 months prior to the abortion, according to a survey released in August 2012 and conducted by Guttmacher Institute.
“The statistics suggest that a lot of women who get abortions are making these decisions in the middle of life circumstances,” said Rachel Jones, the principal investigator for the survey and a senior research associate at Guttmacher Institute.
Jones said 16 percent of the women surveyed were separated from their partner, 14 percent fell behind on mortgage or rent, 12 percent moved more than twice and 10 percent had a close friend die recently or already had a baby.
About 9,493 women from all age groups were surveyed while sitting in waiting rooms before having an abortion. They were asked questions about their personal life 12 months prior to that date, Jones said.
She said the researchers did not know how common these events were and how often they occurred in the larger population of women. She said because of this, they cannot say that women who experienced a disruptive event are more likely to get an abortion.
However, Jones said they did know women who are classified under the federal poverty cutoff of 2008 are more likely to get an abortion.
“Poor women have less access to health care and contraception and have a harder time preventing unwanted pregnancies,” Jones said. “They’re already struggling to take care of the children they have.”
Jenny Summers, executive director of the State College Pregnancy Resource Clinic, 423 S. Pugh St., said the clinic offer services such as pregnancy tests and counseling for clients who have already had an abortion, put a baby up for adoption or had a baby.
She said if a client tests positive for pregnancy, the clinic would walk the patient through their options.
“There’s different decisions, and we don’t take them lightly,” Summers said. “We encourage them to consider all options in a non-judgmental way and choose the option that won’t cause lifelong pain.”
Summers said for the patients who choose to terminate the pregnancy, they offer counseling services. She said most women who seek support return five to 20 years after they get their abortion.
Ann Gale, assistant director of the Pregnancy Resource Clinic, said she thinks women wait to seek support because, especially in students, the ending of the pregnancy is an initial source of relief.
Gale said it might take many years for the patient to face the guilt.
“It’s very controversial, so they don’t know where to turn,” Summers said. “It comes with so much shame and judgment so they deal with it by themselves.”
Summers said at the clinic in State College, the patients coming in were mostly students between ages 18 to 24.
She said the decision for whether the students would terminate the pregnancy was not based on disruptive past events, but rather their hopes and dreams for the future.
“It’s not about being political,” Summers said. “It’s about meeting men and women when they’re really afraid.”