“There is no way that those abortion provider statistics are accurate,” the pastor concluded as we discussed abortion statistics. “I’ve never heard anyone from my congregation confess to an abortion.”
Just because women do not share their abortion stories does not mean we do not exist at every demographic level of our society. Most of us are sitting in silent prisons of pain, fearing the wrath of the world if anyone should discover that we allowed the tiny human inside our womb to die.
Some of us are at the upper echelons of large corporations while others at the bottom levels of poverty. Some of us have aborted more than once while others lost only one child. Many are in pain but have no idea that their abortion is the root cause.
Accurate statistics on the demographics of post-abortive people is nearly impossible to discover for many reasons. Ramah International typically uses Planned Parenthood’s research arm – The Alan Guttmacher Institute – for most abortion references. I cite abortion provider’s statistics simply because they are the only ones that come into direct contact with us.
It is interesting to understand that most women in abortion clinics have some level of a faith background at the time of their abortion. In 2014 the statistics relating to the faith backgrounds of women who abort were as follows:
- Mainline Protestant, 17%
- Evangelical Protestant – 13%
- Catholics – 24%
- No religious affiliation – 38%
- Other religious affiliation – 8%
These numbers can be very misleading as visits to abortion clinics are often filled with anxiety and stress. Most of us work to be as private as possible when completing abortion clinic intake forms. We use fake names, yet still hope for honesty from those that are about to take our child(ren)’s lives.
When a Christian aborts, they often have a longer road in discovering God’s redemption due to deep shame and guilt. When someone accepts Christ after choosing abortion, past sins are forgiven and healing can arrive in an instant. Yet that is rare.
When I founded Ramah International in 1997, Planned Parenthood featured the following Guttmacher post-abortion statistic as part of their “Facts in Brief: Induced Abortion” research – At current rates, 43% of all American women will experience abortion at least once by the age of 45 years.
In 2008, through an updated version of the “Facts in Brief: Induced Abortion” research, Guttmacher adjusted the post-abortion rate down to 33% of all American women will experience abortion at least once by the age of 45 years.
At the end of 2017, this source reduced the number again, outlining that @24% of all American woman are post-abortive.
Why has this post-abortion number changed so much over the years? The answer relates to declining abortion rates among other variables. The millennial audience simply has not chosen abortion at the same rate as other generational groups.
The general post-abortion rate in the US must now be viewed across generational lines. Older abortion rates must be adjusted for various demographic groups. For examples:
- At the time of my abortion, the post-abortion rate for my demographic age group was 43% of all American women. That leads to a basic conclusion that the post-abortion rate for women over 50 would be 43%. Think about it – nearly half of American women aged 50 or older had at least one abortion.
- For women between the ages of 35 and 50 years of age, their post-abortion rate is likely more in-line with the 33% post-abortion rate.
- For those under 35, likely their rate resembles the 24% rate based on the 2017 Guttmacher statistical information.
Obviously, this is just my educated guess when extrapolating abortion statistics. Due to my deep involvement in abortion recovery ministry over the last 27 years, I have likely heard more abortion stories than anyone else alive on Earth today. So my speculations are educated at a different level from those who rarely hear an abortion testimony.
True and trusted information on the American post-abortive demographic does not exist at a statistically significant basis due to the following reasons:
Changeable – How you feel today may not be the same as how you feel tomorrow. Post-abortive people can be unpredictable and changeable. Additional abortions increase this impact as do other “life” events like the death of family member or loved one, infertility, subsequent pregnancies, etc. Many are afraid to address abortion memories, fearing doing so could lead to a suicide decision. As a result many spend great amounts of emotional energy over the years working to forget they ever made such a choice.
Too Broad – Post abortive people comprise a large section of all American women over EVERY possible demographic. How a poor woman feels about her abortion can be vastly different to the emotions of wealthy women. Women of faith may experience deeper levels of regret than secular women with no faith background.
Rehearsed Innocence — It is “typical” for post-abortive women to practice ways to remain tranquil when the abortion topic is discussed in their presence. Numbness or emotional distancing can assist post-abortive women in remaining calm when abortion is discussed in their presence. If they are rehearsing their silence, they will likely never reveal their truthful feelings on a survey instrument.
Recovery Impact — Some women initially cope well after abortion but later find themselves in great emotional upheaval over this choice. Others who immediately are overwhelmed with regret and grief can attend an abortion recovery program and go on to live in peace. Those who have found healing present vastly different survey information than those who may not be struggling after abortion.
Impact of Abortion Procedure – Women who endure surgical abortions have vastly different experiences/emotions than those who utilize the medical (RU486) option. In addition, those who endured a late term abortion often go through an actual birth experience. Their pain and regret can be quite different as a result.
Cultural Influence–Since America is a nation of immigrants, it is a “melting pot” of cultures that have different perspectives on unexpected pregnancy and abortion. First-generation Americans are more impacted by an outside culture than those whose ancestors have lived here for many years.
Within some cultures/religions, the loss of virginity is a reason to expel or kill women, even if they have been raped. These women literally abort to avoid being publicly murdered. Within Christian cultures, where the sanctity of life is embraced, women abort to avoid bringing shame or judgment on their families.
Research Methods – Current research methods (standardized surveys) are typically inadequate in uncovering deeply entrenched emotional reactions for this “difficult to discuss” experience. Women are rarely truthful about their abortion on medical intake forms! If they are withholding information regarding their health, they likely won’t be truthful on a generic survey form or with an interviewer who asks troubling questions.
Which Symptom to Study? – There is no agreement among researchers about which Abortion PTSD symptom (relief, depression, grieving, self-destructive behaviors, etc.) they should attempt to survey as it relates to abortion, nor what level of symptoms should be considered substantial.
The next time you talk about abortion, please remember we are listening. Offer general statements of compassion when outlining the truth that abortion takes a human life. Let us know that there is no sin that God cannot forgive–even abortion!
If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, Ramah’s Her Choice to Heal online abortion recovery program can help you begin to understand how abortion’s pain has impacted your life.