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A recently study [] published in the American Journal of Public Health [online 17 June 2010] found that 14 percent of women who had abortions reported having experienced physical or sexual abuse at least once in the past year.

The survey of 986 women found that 10 percent reported physical abuse and 3 percent reported sexual abuse, with 74 percent of women reporting they were abused by a current partner and 24 percent reporting abuse by a previous partner (some women reported abuse by both current and former partners).

While the study only asked about the year prior to the abortion, many post- abortion counselors have found that many women who have had abortions report a history of sexual abuse,  perhaps in their childhood. Most discussion about abortion and sexual abuse concerns what happens if a woman or girl becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

The book Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion  ( explores the further connection between abortion and a history of sexual abuse that may have occurred before the pregnancy took place.

Audrey Saftlas, Universiy of Iowa professor of epidemiology and lead author of the study, commented: "Women seeking termination of pregnancy comprise a particularly high-risk group for physical or sexual assault. 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.