Reasons for Abortion

Why the Procedure is Performed?

An unwanted pregnancy is often the main cause for an abortion. Contraceptive failure is another common reason for choosing an abortion. In some cases, women may lack the support needed to care for a child and opt to terminate the pregnancy instead. These are all intensely personal decisions and abortion is never an easy choice to make. There are also difficult cases, where pregnant women may have medical reasons for an abortion. These include:

  • Birth Defects: Serious birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities of the fetus – An amniocentesis carried out before 20 weeks of pregnancy can determine whether the fetus has any genetic disorders or chromosomal defects such as Down’s syndrome, Spina Bifida, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell disease, Trisomy 18, and Tay-Sachs disease. While some of these conditions are classified medically as ‘incompatible with life,’ others are not. The decision to terminate a pregnancy on the basis of a birth defects is left to the parents to decide and is often dependent on whether they can offer the child the quality of life he or she requires.
  • Risk to Mother: The health of the mother is another important factor when considering an abortion. Health reasons for abortion are applicable if there exists any complications or threats to the mothers (and subsequently the baby’s) health. For example, women who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV, AIDS, autoimmune diseases, or certain sexually transmitted diseases are in a high-risk category during their pregnancy. In such cases, carrying a baby to term may be dangerous for the mother and an induced abortion may be necessary.
  • In cases of rape or incest, an abortion is usually performed to spare the mother the additional anguish and trauma.

Frequently asked questions
  1. Deaths From Spontaneous Abortion in the United States, Stuart M. Berman, Trent MacKay, David A. Grimes, Nancy J. Binkin, JAMA. 1985;253(21):3119-3123.
  2. Mortality From Abortion and Childbirth: Are the Statistics Biased? Willard Cates, Jr, Jack C. Smith, Roger W. Rochat, David A. Grimes, JAMA. 1982;248(2):192-196.
  3. Abortion reform, RG Bubeck, J Am Osteopath Assoc June 1, 1972 71:842