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Repeat Abortion and links to abuse of women

March 12th, 2005

Dr Petra

Research just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has alerted medical professionals to a previously overlooked health issue – that women seeking repeat abortions are at risk from relationship abuse.

Of the 1145 women studied who were seeking a termination, those consulting for a repeat abortion were more likely than those presenting for their first termination to have experienced sexual and physical violence from a partner, and relationship conflict. Worryingly these women were also more likely to be socially isolated, having few friends to turn to, and were less likely to have received formal sex education.

Health professionals, domestic and sexual violence charities, and those working with heterosexual women and their partners need to be aware that seeking a repeat abortion could be an indicator of relationship difficulties and possible abuse. It may be a means of offering support or advice to women at risk.

Although the research didn’t include those seeking the ‘morning after pill’ – it may be women who repeatedly access this medication – either through the chemist or family planning service, could also be at risk of violence or abuse.

If you’re concerned about violence within your relationship – or a friend’s relationship contact Refuge or Women’s Aid (tel, 0808 2000 247). Whilst Marie Stopes, BPAS and your GP or local family planning service can offer you advice about contraception or abortion. And help you decide what your choices are, including support if you wish to continue with a pregnancy but are experiencing violence and don’t know what to do about your situation.

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