There isn't a lot of data about why women have abortions, but much of the vehement opposition to abortion restrictions focuses on the argument that some abortions are necessary to protect the life and health of the mother. That is true. But what percentage of abortions are performed for health reasons? The Georgia Right to Life website quotes a report by the Alan Guttmacher Institute with the following statistics.
In recognition of this public opposition, abortion providers rarely provide data on the reasons women have abortions. But little has changed since the breakdown shown below provided in 1987 by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an affliate of Planned Parenthood. Abortions of healthy babies by healthy mothers account for over 90% of the estimated 1.3 million abortions done yearly.
Too expensive (21%)
Not ready (21%)
Big change (16%)
Enough children (11%)
Not mature (8%)
Other reasons (4%)
Mother's health (3%)
Baby's health (3%)
According to the women who received abortions and answered this survey, only 7% of abortions are performed for the reasons with the most popular support.
Polls, however, continue to find little support for the majority of these abortions. Two National polls, Zogby in November 2002 and Wirthlin in December 2002, found almost identical results: 61 and 62 percent, respectively, believed that abortion should never be allowed or allowed only in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother. Only 37 and 35 percent, respectively, thought abortion should always be legal or allowed for other reasons. And the Wirthlin poll offered this important clarification: of the 35 percent who thought abortion should always be legal, 22 percent would limit abortion to the first three months of pregnancy.
So why not ban the other 93% of abortions and save all those lives?
The comments here are very good. I don't think women should be executed for having illegal abortions, but I do think they should serve prison time -- and I do think the punishment for having an "abortion of convenience" should include sterilization.