What are the main reasons/causes of abortion?

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What are the main reasons/causes of abortion?

What are the main reasons/causes of abortion?


In India and even beyond,

The most common explanation for uptaking an induced abortion is an unwanted pregnancy!

That’s right!

People encountering new medical approaches to curb the condition of unintentional or unwanted pregnancy seek to avail of it.

What are the main reasons/causes of abortion?

While collecting data on how many women undertake induced abortion every year, we often fail to acknowledge the underlying reasons behind such an explanation! It is because we are more inclined toward thinking of abortion as a negative & unethical practice, and the catchword “unintended pregnancy” leaves us with a subjective approach to perception!

On the other hand,

There are many women out there who, despite not deciding on induced abortion, end up having an abortion! In other words, they have a miscarriage even though they want to conceive!

If you are one of them, you may understand the underlying reasons for this abortion in the very first place. There is a lot of article on the net these days to give you insight into when miscarriages happen.


For an induced abortion, the different underlying reasons do not come across our eyes ordinarily. That does not mean they don’t exist! They do, and today we are here to unfold them all.


Are you ready to unveil the reasons or causes of an induced abortion?

Then, sit back & continue reading with me!

Unveil the Social, Economic, & Health Circumstances: Leading to an Induced Abortion!

Perhaps, the reasons we learn from women on why they intend to abort are far more complex. It does not only involve the fact that those women did not seek to become pregnant. Usually, such a decision lay motivated by multiple factors at the same time!

Yes, the improvement of contraceptives in recent times is helping reduce the circumstances of unwanted pregnancy & abortion, but a woman’s limitation to determine & control certain situations takes them to the path of induced abortion!

Here, some of you may argue that you already know the reason for abortion, and that is unwanted pregnancy.


By thinking so, you fail to observe the steps between acknowledging unplanned pregnancy and opting for induced abortion.

In fact, even today, myriads of women having unwanted pregnancies do not consider having an abortion. They simply adjust to the current reality either because they were ambivalent in taking the decision of abortion or maybe because they were bound to accede to others’ preferences in this regard. Some may face obstruction from their husbands, and some may have to abide by the community values that go against abortion!

On the same note, conditions may also pop up after conception & may have been traced during the routine pregnancy ultrasound. It means that a wanted pregnancy can turn unwanted due to the presence of serious health issues that were unknown or less serious when the decision of conception was taken.


Of course, the planning status of a woman’s pregnancy cannot show us the reasons for uptaking the abortion. But, we can certainly understand that the prevalence of abortion & its proximate cause lies in – Non-use of contraceptives or contraception failure!

Health Reasons

Among the 1.3 million women who obtain an abortion in a year, the percentage of those doing so under health abnormalities is very less. But we need to learn them all!

Ectopic Pregnancy –

It is the health abnormality where the pregnancy, or in other words, the fertilized egg implant develops outside the main cavity of your uterus, typically in the fallopian tube! Such a condition is also called a tubal pregnancy, and the baby cannot survive through it!

Indeed, the odds of survival of the baby in an ectopic pregnancy are as rare as 1 out of 3 million!

Sometimes, the pregnancy may also occur outside the fallopian tube near your abdominal cavity. It is because such a location is rich in blood supply. Such a condition may appear as a result of inflammation or scarring in your fallopian tubes due to a previous health defect like infections, surgery, and so forth.

An ectopic pregnancy can be an outcome of genetic abnormalities or hormonal deficits.


Your doctor & you, on identifying this condition, would have to undergo an abortion in order to avoid the rupture of your fallopian tube. No doubt, you would not want to miss another chance at healthy pregnancy by taking the risk of keeping it!

The abortion that takes place as a post-treatment is called a tubal abortion. Herein, the viable pregnancy lay intact and surgically removed when having the operative intervention.


Your doctor knows that the pregnancy has to be terminated before it turns out to be large!

Other Fetal abnormalities/ Birth Defects –

Studies say that Women taking up abortion due to fetal defects are barely few. Such an abortion may stem from more than one factor, including birth defects. Are you wondering what birth defects are?


Your fetus may be deformed!

It may be the case that your fetus is growing abnormally! Or, your fetus may be vulnerable to severe congenital anomalies, congenital malformations, or congenital disorders.

It means your baby may have a cleft lip, i.e., a split or opening on the upper lips. It occurs if the facial structure of the unborn baby does not grow completely. In this context, women who are in their 13th week of pregnancy or the gestation period state that their fetal health has been compromised.

The unborn baby may be affected by clubfoot or twisted & out-of-shape foot. It is because the tissues connecting its muscles and bones turn out to be shorter than usual!

Your baby, while inside you, may be caught with ventricular septal defects. In simple words, a birth defect involves a hole in the wall separating the two chambers of the lower heart.

Alas! Your fetus may also be suffering from congenital heart defects, like aortic heart stenosis or the narrowing of the valve that lies in between the aorta and lower left chamber of the heart. There may be a coarctation of the aorta or a narrowed aorta, Ebstein’s anomaly, or the wrong positioning of the tricuspid valve accompanied by malformed valve flaps, etc.

All of the scenarios can lead you to the decision of undertaking an abortion. Of course, who would want to have a baby with birth defects? No one, perhaps!

Yet again,

Such circumstances are rare because women obtain an abortion even before such detection is identified! In fact, in countries where the latest medical care & advanced testing is not widely accessible, cases of induced abortion due to fetal abnormalities are not found.


Studies on Indian women report fetal abnormalities as a major cause of induced abortion, and the percentage herein situates at approximately 11%, whereas, in the United States, the percentage of women reporting an induced abortion uptake due to fetal defect is only 8 percent.

Personal Health

Undoubtedly, on hearing such a reason, the first thing that may come to your mind is how can the personal health of a woman be a reason for aborting a child! Let me tell you that there is nothing to think this way as such a perception is no more than a stereotype!

During pregnancy, the mother’s life is always at stake. She may be vulnerable to both physical & mental issues after conceiving. Countries where abortion is illegal to hold regard to such reasons as invalid. But, the personal health of the women does matter.

From a history of repeated miscarriage to rehabilitation from drug abuse; from depression to advanced maternal age; toxemia or abrupt hypertension accompanied by swelled hands & feet during pregnancy, pain, mood swings, and anything else that concerns the woman’s personal health may be a cause of pursuing an induced abortion.


There is nothing wrong with it! If a woman thinks she cannot go through the personal health issues that may appear during the full length of pregnancy until the baby is born, or she is not ready to take the risks, she may certainly opt for an abortion!

Even though this factor is apparently less significant in countries like Latin America, nearly 20 to 38 percent of women in India, Kenya, & Bangladesh report personal health as the main reason behind their decision of abortion.


They were only the health reasons. There is yet more to discover down the line!

Social Reasons

Well, it is important for you to note that majority of these women availing of induced abortion tend to do so out of social issues. It is evident from a survey in 2004, where nearly 74% of women said that having a baby would dramatically change their lives, and therefore they opt for induced abortion. Whereas, 73% stated that they cannot afford a baby now!

Such statements are likely to make you more eager to know What are they!

What are the social causes of abortion?

Here they go!

Controlling Family Size & Birth Timing

One of the vital social factors behind an induced abortion is the task of controlling family size given by the society & government in today’s world. At the same time, the advancement of medical technologies gave parents an opportunity to regulate birth timing. In other words, couples can plan when to conceive & when not.

However, when such planning & contraception fails to combat a viable pregnancy, abortion remains the plausible option!

Women who already have one child tend to abort the next, if any, to control the family size and dependency. Survey records reveal that such situations sum up to around 38% of the abortion cases in developed & developing countries.

While one may enquire about the reason behind an increase in this percentage from 22% in 1987 is simply the current population composition & intense awareness regarding population control.

Likewise, the urge to postpone a birth is common in 20 countries across the globe, estimated to be about 50 percent of the total abortion cases in the respective countries. Abortion as a medium of birth timing control comes up due to multiple other reasons like the inability to educate & take care of more than one kid, both financially & otherwise, and the inability to pursue one’s own education during a full-time pregnancy, already existing two or more children in the family, and so forth!

Such a cause is highest among Romanians & Czech, entailing the reasons for about 49 to 67 percent of total abortion cases! While in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, birth timing control covers two-thirds of the cases!

Sex Selection & Relationship Problems

Another crucial reason for a woman to abort her child is relationship problems & sex selection! [Please Note: Although it can be considered as two separate reasons, while the latter comes as an inclusive of the former, we shall discuss it together.]

Relationship problems may include a variety of things. Such as the partner’s objection to carrying forward the pregnancy to term, the partner already abandoned the woman, the partner having an extramarital relationship, or the pregnancy being an outcome of extramarital intercourse!

Also, the partner being too engrossed with work life and cannot contribute care to it, physically abusive & a drunkard or unreliable & immature, etc., are found within the records of relationship problems! In fact, many women abort the child if she develops and engages in a new relationship by giving a divorce or leaving the partner whose child she bears.

Such factors contribute to around 25 to 42 percent of the total abortion causes in Chile, Mexico, Honduras, & Nigeria, and amounts to 19 percent in Australia and 16% among the Dutch!

On the same note, sex selection is a salient factor these days. People who are vocal about being bisexual in nature or otherwise incest may opt to drop their pregnancy because of it. Although such scenarios are rare, they need equal consideration.

Women who had sexual intercourse with a male partner and got pregnant may not want to spend their entire life with a man but rather choose to do so with a woman! As a human, she has the right to live with any gender she wants to. Therefore abortion in such a case stands viable!

Young & Unmarried life

Another moderate reason for abortion uptake is when the woman is young and unmarried. Since marriage over the years has become a crucial parameter of society to have babies & nurture them, many women, who are young, probably pursuing higher education or career experience, and are not married tend to abort their children.

They fear that their parents, relatives, neighbors, and others in society would come up with objections! Nearly 10% of the causes of abortions in developing countries cite it.


In Latin America & Sub-Saharan Africa, this factor comprises around 20 to 37 percent of the total abortion cases in a year. Young & Unmarried women abort, commonly in Mexico and Honduras, and even in Australia. For the latter, nearly 15 % of women state that they do not want to inform their parents about the pregnancy, and 13% mentioned the reason as being too young.

No doubt, such an aspect shows us how society works in underdeveloped & developing countries of today and how they are digressive as compared to developed countries!

Rape & Single Motherhood

Single motherhood has always been a stigma in human society, and that remains! As a result, women, unless too determined to have the child, tend to avoid the circumstance of single motherhood and undergo induced abortions.

When such a circumference combines with the pre-facto rape, even though only 1 percent, abortion stands socially mandatory for them!

All of these women, on asking, shall point out to you that it is hard to raise a child by themselves or to add another child to the family of a single mother. In a survey done by the researchers of the Guttmacher Institute, a 19- years old woman who aborted her baby, on asking about her thoughts on single motherhood and her reasons to opt for an Induced abortion, stated that,

“Well, I already have one son, and right now, he is growing up without a father, just me and him…If you ain’t got a lot of help with the family support, it’s really hard. Sometimes, I can’t handle it, but I  have to, you know, for my son’s sake…I believe right now, I’m gonna take care of myself and my son.”

In this very survey, another explanation behind abortion on grounds of single motherhood came as standing unfair to the children to grow up without a father figure!

Records say that at least 30% of women abort to avoid conditions of single motherhood among the overall abortion cases. It may be linked to a broken relationship, early age, unmarried, objection from family & society, and others!

Opinions on Adoption

Adoption in the world of modernity has come up not just as a humanitarian alternative to pregnancy but also as a popular trend to give up on the risks & disadvantages of a full-time pregnancy for women!

In recent times, opinions on adoption are somewhat twin-fold.

Some think it is better to go for adoption that to bear a child and invest so much time and care on the pre-delivery tenure, while others think that it is better for them to not bear a child at all because they cannot afford time, effort, and money on the child and ultimately would have to give up for adoption!

In these circumstances, cases of adoption are rare, but they do exist. Women who plan on adopting a child usually tend to abort the one growing in them. Survey records affirm that percentage is only 1!


We can say that the increase in the spread & rate of adoption also paved for an increase in the rate of induced abortion!

Interference & Burden on Career –

Today, a high proportion of women who identifies themselves as engrossed in career development proclaim pregnancy as an interference or burden upon their career and thereby go for the option of abortion.

No doubt, they are just like me or you, and would not want their focus to shift from their ambitious career goals to babysitting!


This factor works more for younger women than the older ones who opt for adoption! Among those whose aspirations are primarily educational and careerist! The ones who may have just started college or higher education and are in the age of 20s.

In this regard,

A woman with no children and falling above the poverty line once said to the researchers of a survey on abortion initiated by the Guttmacher institute, “ You know, I’m 19 years old. I don’t think I should be having a child right now. I should be more focused on what I’m trying…I’m trying to do things for myself. How am I supposed to do something for another human?”

On the other note,

In older women, the explanation of interference comes a little differently, especially when they have a child already. Perhaps, as the family starts growing, the burden on the woman to nurture and care for each one of them falls heavy! So, older women, when working and already having a child to look after, may desire to abort the second one.

The ratio of this tendency of abortion to refrain from the initiation of childbearing to that of abortion to refrain from the number of children, herein, stands at 3:1 in developing countries!

Economic Reasons

While you need finances to take care of your baby and let them grow, abortion at times of economic crisis has become prevalent these days!

That is what it ought to be! Instead of going down into deep financial crises and keeping the baby exposed to diseases, malnutrition, illiteracy, and unhygienic & unhappy living conditions, it is always better to abort them.

Awareness of safe abortion has made people rely on this initiative. Not just in underdeveloped and developing countries, financial issues have been a marker of induced abortion in developed countries as well!


Look down the line and discover how!


Poverty or Financial difficulty is a huge reason behind the rapid uptake of induced abortions. In nearly 19 studies, 20% of the women who took abortion stated financial difficulties as the main reason!

Guttmacher’s record says that, in four out of seven countries, poverty is the major deciding factor for abortion and accounts for about 30 to 68 percent of the total abortion cases.

Women belonging below the poverty line are more specific about the impact of birth on their latest financial condition. The majority of them plausibly have a child or more already and are not able to take care of them properly. How could they afford to take care of one more added person?

That is true!

When the women below the poverty line cannot send one of their children to school, how can we expect them to look after the schooling of another?

When poor women cannot provide three meals a day to one child, how can they provide the same for one more?

When so many children are dying out of malnutrition, tuberculosis, plague, and other diseases, how can the poor women expect they can retain their next probable baby with better living conditions?

No wonder, the option of abortion leaves the poor women room to avoid further delivery and focus on looking after the child or children they already have!

Poverty is one of the primary socio-economic reasons to go for induced abortion. Such a facet is evident from the different research and studies that took place on abortion in various countries. In almost five studies, poverty amounts to 10 % of the total abortion cases, 10 to 29 percent in nine studies, 30 to 55 percent in another set of nine studies, and 80 to 86 percent in two other studies!

In the survey undertaken by the scholars of Guttsmacher institute on abortion cases, one 19 years old women below the poverty line, having three children exclaimed,

“I am on my own, and financially and mentally, I can’t stand it now. That is one whole reason. It is a sin to bring the child here and not to be able to provide for it…”

On the same note,

Another woman below the poverty line, 22 years old and recently homeless, spoke about her abortion. She said, “I have three kids already, and the guy that I was living with, he was, you know, doing good as far as helping me, but he just went to jail…I’m alone with three kids, and they are all I have…I am barely making it, you know, because…you cannot get food…you cannot get food stamps…I only get 50 dollars in food stamps a month.”


Poverty is not the economic reason for all abortion cases. Some even have an economic reason like unemployment. Yes, that is a huge factor these days!

As the world is turning towards AI and Data science, more and more people are losing their jobs, irrespective of men & women. Against such a backdrop, abortion has become a significant initiative to avoid a financial burden for couples who do not have a job yet. They fear that having a baby at such a stage shall force them to depend on public assistance.

Such a factor is visible more in the United States of America, other developed countries of Europe, and some developing South Asian countries, like India, Pakistan, & Bangladesh!

In Guttsmacher’s survey, women from the US became more specific about their problems. Some of them told that their partners are unemployed and they do not get any support from their partners.

Unemployment is a cause of pursuing abortion mostly within the age group of 20 to 24 years, who are struggling to stand on their feet and earn money for themselves and their family. Hence this reason overlaps with the demographic and social characteristics. Women who are unmarried & unemployed and cannot get financial aid from their partners tend to abort their children. Herein, marital status with economic condition combines as the cause of abortion!


Women, who are unmarried, but employed to a high profile, have fewer odds to go for an abortion!

Sum Up:

Do you still have the notion that abortion brings down unethical practices in society?

Do you still believe that abortion is no less than murder?

Then, it is high time you break through the dungeons of narrow-mindedness and realize that it stands necessary! Abortion is requisite for the economic, social, and health condition of a woman who decides it.

Abortion is necessary for population control when contraceptives fail!

Abortion gives a couple a scope to have a planned conception & get rid of overburdening circumstances!

Abortion can help eliminate deformed deliveries. Instead, it allows a healthy birth the next time!


It is always better to consult with doctors and pursue an ultrasound test to see what condition you are in before taking an abortion.

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About author
Hi, I’m Alka Tiwari, healthcare marketer at HealthFinder. I started this blog to help you provide better healthcare information directly from the doctors.
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