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Women are coerced into having abortions

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Women are autonomous, thoughtful persons deciding rationally about whether to have a baby or an abortion given the current conditions of their lives and their future plans – in the same way that any adult makes difficult decisions in many other situations.

However, anti-choice people often claim that most women have abortions because they are under pressure from parents, partners, doctors, social workers, counsellors, etc. Anti-choice people may also say, or imply, that women are acting in a panic, or that they are emotionally overwhelmed and not thinking straight; therefore, they require compulsory counselling and time to reflect upon their decision.

Numerous studies show that most women decide together with their partner or alone, and tend to be very certain of their decision by the time they arrive at the clinic. Independent abortion providers in the UK report that only a small proportion (as few as 6%) of women using their service opt for formal counselling, as many feel that counselling is not necessary and find it intrusive. Therefore, laws that presuppose that most women are conflicted in their decision about abortion and need additional time and information are based on anti-choice myths.

Another related claim is that if women received all the financial and psychological support they need, they would not have abortions. While financial problems often play a role in decision making, they are rarely the only reason for an abortion. The reality is that unwanted childbearing is associated with increased poverty, and women do not want to become dependent on welfare because of an unwanted child. Also, many women simply do not want a child, or not at this time in their lives.

BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health. The decision to opt for abortion. 2008

Reuters. Women who choose abortion are certain of the decision. 2016

Family Planning Association, and Brook (UK). Decision-making support within the integrated care pathway for women considering or seeking abortion. 2014

Huffington Post. Abortion Denied: Consequences for Mother and Child. 2015