MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Senior Research Associate
New York, NY 10038
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Abortion is a critical component of public health. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of abortion among population groups and changes in rates between 2008 and 2014, as well as to provide an updated estimate of the lifetime incidence of abortion.
To estimate abortion rates, we used data from the Abortion Patient Survey, the American Community Survey, and the National Survey of Family Growth; the estimate of the lifetime incidence of abortion used data from the Abortion Patient Survey. Between 2008 and 2014, the abortion rate declined 25%, from 19.4 to 14.6 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Abortion rates declined among all groups of women, though declines steeper for some populations than others. The abortion rate for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years declined 46%, the largest of any group. Abortion rates declined for all racial and ethnic groups but were larger for non-white women than for non-Hispanic white women. Although the abortion rate decreased 26% for women with incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level, this population had the highest abortion rate of all the groups examined: 36.6. If the 2014 age-specific abortion rates prevail, 24% of women in that year will have an abortion by age 45.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Abortion is a common experience; approximately 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by age 45. While abortion rates declined among all groups of women, some groups experienced steeper declines than others. Improvements in contraceptive use likely contributed to the decline in abortion, though it is possible that some women were unable to access abortion due to restrictive state policies.
Disparities in abortion rates correspond with disparities in unintended pregnancy. Not only do women of color and those with family incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level have higher rates of abortion than do white women and those with higher incomes, but they also have higher rates of unintended birth. Equitable access to wide range family planning and contraceptive services would better allow women in underserved populations to avoid unintended pregnancy, but these efforts alone will not eliminate these disparities. Efforts should also be devoted to making sure that women who want abortions are able to have them without having to overcome financial and logistical barriers.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Future research and interventions focused on abortion and unintended pregnancy should seek to understand the underlying causes of disparities in reproductive health outcomes, because this information could inform a comprehensive set of policies and programs that benefit all women.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Rachel K. Jones, PhD, and Jenna Jerman, MPH
Published Online: October 19, 2017
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.