Abortion has become concentrated among poor women. Poverty represents difficulties in meeting financial obligations. The researchers expect it is also associated with a range of potentially difficult life circumstances that may influence women’s pregnancy decisions.
This mixed-methods study relied on two data sources. Quantitative data came from a national sample of 9493 women obtaining abortions. They reported exposure to 11 potentially disruptive events. The researchers also examined associations between disruptive events, poverty status, and contraceptive use. Qualitative information from forty-nine in-depth interviews was used to provide insights into patterns that emerged from the quantitative analysis.
More than half of the women obtaining abortions experienced a potentially disruptive event within the last year. Such events included unemployment, separation from a partner, falling behind on rent/mortgage, and/or moving multiple times. Poverty status was significantly associated with several of the events, particularly those that could directly impact a family’s economic circumstances. Information from the in-depth interviews suggested that disruptive events interfered with contraceptive use, there was no difference in contraceptive use by exposure to disruptive life events, even after controlling for poverty status.
The study concluded that many abortion patients make decisions about their pregnancies amid complex life circumstances.