Researchers conducted this study to study whether the social correlates of subsequent abortions vary depending on the order of the abortion.

After drawing upon the Flemish abortion centers’ anonymized patient records, discrete-time hazard models were used to examine whether individual abortion experiences across women’s reproductive life course have different social correlates.

Single women and women with a vulnerable socioeconomic status were more likely to have a second or third abortion. The hazard for higher-order abortions was more pronounced in women with a migration background, regardless of the order considered. Contraceptive use was unrelated to fourth or higher-order abortions.

Using discrete-time hazard models, we unpack individual abortion experiences across women’s reproductive life courses. By studying the transitions into different orders of subsequent abortions separately, we provide a more detailed understanding of risk factors than other European studies. The social correlates vary by the order considered: A specific profile emerges for women who have a second or third abortion but disintegrates when considering higher-order abortions. This knowledge enables clinicians and policymakers to understand better women who experience subsequent abortions and tailor services best suited to their needs.