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Study Shows Link Between Abortion and the Physical / Sexual Abuse of Women by Their Partners

A study shows the link between abortion and the physical and sexual abuse to which women may be subjected in the relationship by their husband or boyfriend following the abortion.

University of Iowa researchers led the study, which shows women seeking abortions have experienced a high rate of violence and abuse from their partners.

The study was published online June 17 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Audrey Saftlas, a Universiy of Iowa professor of epidemiology and lead author of the study, talked about the results her team found.

"Women seeking termination of pregnancy comprise a particularly high-risk group for physical or sexual assault," she said. "In our study, almost 14 percent of women receiving an abortion reported at least one incident of physical or sexual abuse in the past year."

"These findings strongly support the need for clinic-based screening with interventions. These high-risk women need resources, referrals and support to help them and their families reduce the violence in their lives," Saftlas added.

The researchers examined 986 women who had abortions and completed questionnaires.

Overall, the researchers found the combined one-year prevalence of physical or sexual abuse by any perpetrator was 13.8 percent. The prevalence of physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner was 9.9 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Of the women who reported such pre-abortion violence, 74 percent of women identified their former partner as the perpetrator of the violence and 27 percent identified a current partner as responsible for the violence. The numbers don't add up to 100 percent because some women reported violence by both current and former partners.

"These figures suggest that women seeking abortions have frequently left abusive relationships in the months before the abortion," Saftlas said.

As a result, women who have had abortions or speak out, say abortion centers should ask women if they are having an abortion as a result of partner abuse and assault. They also suggest that abortion may not be in their best interest or resolve those abuse and assault situations.

Leaders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign,a national network of women and men who regret their decision or participation in an abortion, say the survey does not go far enough in identifying how women seeking abortion should be counseled.

Penny Dickey, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland chief operating officer and a study author, said her abortion business participated in the study.

"A Planned Parenthood official who participated in this Iowa study admits that her organization has not been asking women about any abuse they’ve suffered," said Janet Morana, co-founder of the organization.

She told, "That Planned Parenthood has been aborting women’s babies for four decades and is only now talking about maybe asking women if they’ve been abused shows that women’s lives are of no consequence to them."

Georgette Forney, also a co-founder of the group and a woman who has experienced the personal regret of an abortion, said "asking women if they’ve suffered physical attacks by their babies’ fathers would be an innovation for Planned Parenthood."

"What the organization’s sales staff should really do, but which they will refuse to do, is ask women if they’ve been coerced by a boyfriend, husband, or parent to have the abortion. We know that feigning concern for women is one thing for Planned Parenthood, asking women questions that might cause them not to abort is quite another," Forney said.

Related web sites:
Silent No More Awareness Campaign –
May 2010: Abortion

[25 June 2010, Ertelt, Washington, DC,, ]