Are Women Who Have Had An Abortion More Likely To Get Pregnant To 'Replace' It?

I’ve heard that women who have had an abortion are more likely to get pregnant again afterwards. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, as these women are more likely to be sexually active- or less able to figure out how to use birth control- than women who never got pregnant in the first place.

However, I’ve heard that these women tend to get pregnant on purpose, supposedly because they feel guilty about their decision to abort and believe that having a baby will ‘fix’ that ‘mistake’. Is there any truth to this?


I haven’t had sex since my abortion in October of 94.


However, what I’m looking for here are studies of more than one person that can either confirm or refute what I have written above.

What bollocks!

I’m willing to grant you the benefit of the doubtand say that it is true that you heard it.

Did I win anything?

You may like to think that women who have abortions are “less able to figure out how to use birth control” but considering the fact that you are probably not a woman who has had an abortion and I am a woman who got pregnant whilst on the pill and had an abortion I feel free to say you are talking through your arse.

You may like to think women feel guilty for having had an abortion (and whilst I don’t speak for all) I still feel free to say you are talking through your arse.

And as for having a child to replace and abortion that just sounds patently ridiculous. If you didn’t want a pregnancy in the first place how would another one help.

Jeez, abortion is a sensitive issue of course but please don’t tar everyone who has had one with the same brush.

I’m gonna say no, there’s none. And even if it was, I’m not sure how you’d prove it. Whether they’ve had an abortion or not, many women get pregnant on purpose. I’m sure many women do feel bad about having abortions. That doesn’t mean one caused the other. Even women who DO feel bad about past abortions who later choose to get pregnant don’t necessarily do so out of guilt or as a ‘replacement,’ and I doubt many women would say this was a conscious motive.

I don’t really buy your assertion that women who’ve had abortions are more sexually active and less likely to be able to figure out how to use birth control either. Even if they’re more sexually active and less likely to use birth control, they’ve had abortions before, so they’re obviously aware how to end a pregnancy if they want to.

calm kiwi- “You may like to think women feel guilty for having had an abortion (and whilst I don’t speak for all) I still feel free to say you are talking through your arse.

I don’t necessarily think this- I don’t know what to think. I heard this from someone, but I don’t know whether or not it’s true.

That’s why I decided to ask about it here.

This is surreal… On the SDMB, one person uses a single-case anecdote to rebut a statistical question, and another makes accusations about intent…

I don’t see any evidence of “tarring” in the OP.

I can see an argument that women who have abortions are less likely to have been using contraceptive methods, but I’d like to see it validated by an actual survey or study…

I can easily believe that some women feel guilt (or other emotional or logical reasons) after an abortion and decide to have a child. Again, I’d like to see a cite of an actual study…

Which is all the OP asked for…


Well you asked and I answered. No I don’t feel guilty at all.

Ok, yes you are right. Obviously a hot button for me. You are completely correct. I have no evidence to refute the OP nor any to back it up. I only have personal experience which is not really fitting for a debate.

Again I apologise.

What about women who have abortions because they already have plenty of kids and recently got access to transportation, making it possible for them to have that abortion and get some depo?

No problem, calm kiwi.

I was looking for studies about this but found that most of the sites that discussed ‘replacement pregnancies’ seemed to have an ‘agenda’ regarding abortion.

Where does one go for unbiased information?

Hmm. Given that women who have had abortions are women who were in a position to get pregnant in the first place, isn’t this something of a skewed sample? I mean, a subset of women can get pregnant, and a subset of them have abortions. It follows, as they were chosen from the first subset, that sterile women would be excluded from the second subset, and that therefore the data would be wacky. I think.

Here are some summaries of a few studies about this-

"*Congleton, GK and Calhoun, GC (1993) Post-Abortion Perceptions: A Comparison of Self-Identified Distressed and Non-Distressed Populations, The Int’l Journal of Social Psychiatry 39(4): 255 (Women experiencing postabortion stress were more likely to report a desire to replace the fetus, report depression around the anniversary date or due date, and immediately experience postabortion feelings of loss compared to women reporting relieving/neutral postabortion experiences.)

Vought, Jeanette, Post-Abortion Trauma. 9 steps to Recovery (1991) (53% of women in a postabortion recovery group stated they desired to get pregnant again to compensate for the loss.)

Soderberg H et al (1998) Selection bias in a study on how women experienced induced abortion, Eur J Obstet & Gynecol 77:67 (Swedish researchers at Lund University calculated that, of approximately 33,000 induced abortions in Sweden each year, about 6000 of these women became pregnant again within 12 months, with half of them continuing the pregnancy to term, and another half undergoing another induced abortion.)

Shepard MJ and Bracken MB (1979) Contraception and Repeat Abortion: An Epidemiological Investigation J Biosocial Science 11:289 (In a Connecticut study of abortion and contraceptive practice, it was found that 42% of women repeating abortion had had an abortion within the previous year.)*"

I can only tell you about one anecdotal case, but one that I know very well, as it involves a close family member. She has had 3 abortions. She also knows damn well how not to get pregnant, and oddly enough was usually the one to give her friends advice and encouragement on the subject of contraception. Access to all possible medical care and methods of contraception is not, and has never been, an issue for her.

She would love nothing more than to meet Prince Charming, settle down, and have babies, and at 33 had better think about getting cracking on that. However, she has some deeply seated self-esteem issues and tends to get involved with guys who are real losers, or at best completely wrong for her and show no intention of giving her the commitment she craves. (Her current guy, with whom she has had an on-again/off-again Godawful mess of a so-called relationship for the past several years, during most of which he has been living with another woman, is no exception. But for some unknown reason, she puts up with his crap.)

I wouldn’t call her 2nd and 3rd abortions terminations of “replacement pregnancies,” and certainly many pregnancies are truly accidental, but there is definitely something to the whole idea of women, consciously or subconsciously, getting themselves into situations that they should have been able to stay out of.

Like you said, Surreal, the site you linked to seems to have an agenda…

Speaking from personal experience only…

When I had an abortion a few years I had no desire to get pregnant again. I hardly had a desire to have sex again for a while. I was just relieved to get out of the situation that I put myself into. The thought does occasionally cross my mind of what if I hadn’t have done it. Never have I thought that I should have a child to replace it.

I’ve also had several friends and relatives who have had abortions. Not a single one of them has had a child since then nor have they wanted one.

And just for the record, I believe that the majority of us who have had an unintended pregnancy know how to properly use birth control. If we didn’t know then, we sure as hell learned our lesson quickly.

I think it would have to be such an individual thing for each woman that any study would have difficulty finding a ‘representative sample’ of women who’ve had terminations.