The Great Abortion Debate often boils down to depressing conversations about rape, incest, or death. Specifically, if the slew of anti-abortion measures introduced by Republicans over the last few years included exceptions for rape and incest victims (or provisions for the health of the mother). Liberals fight for these exemptions—which is good and just—but over time it's skewed the conversation by implying that these are the most worthy reasons to seek an abortion, while glossing over the host of other reasons women seek to end pregnancies.
But a Guttmacher report released this week shows that 57 percent of women who obtain abortions have experienced some form of social shock prior to their procedure—such as becoming unemployed, separating from their partner, or falling behind on rent or mortgage payments. Roughly 9,500 women were surveyed for the study, which is the first of its kind to thoroughly document the social factors that influence women's decision not to remain pregnant.
You have to pay to see the full report; Luckily, the Nation has the highlights:
Physical or sexual abuse is another kind of “disruptive event,” one that seven percent of women obtaining abortions reported. “Women with abusive partners are substantially over-represented among abortion patients,” the study concluded. Perhaps surprising to some, more than half of the women surveyed reported using a contraceptive method in the month before they become pregnant.
... As this and other studies suggest, rape and sexual coercion play a role in a significant number of pregnancies. The link found in the Guttmacher study between intimate partner violence and unintended pregnancy in particular calls out for further examination, said Moore. “There are direct ways that violent partners, and nonviolent partners, can interfere with a women’s ability to prevent unintended pregnancy. There’s also a relation between the instability that comes with being in a violent relationship.”
This news is unlikely to influence any of the dick-swinging turds in camp GOP—men who argue that rape victims should happily carry their attacker's pregnancies to term—but it's solid evidence that women seek abortions for a host of social and economic reasons, and it's not for politicians to arbitrarily decide which of those reasons are legitimate.