The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Why Choose Abortion? How We Can Both Directly and Indirectly Encourage Life

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When addressing the issue of “abortion,” it is imperative for us to not only consider the act itself, but the factors that influence a woman’s decision.  For instance, we should not only be concerned with overturning Roe v. Wade, but we should concern ourselves with policies that indirectly affect a woman in choosing abortion rather than birth.  Let me explain.

Reasons for Choosing Abortion

In an article this past Sunday from the Christian Post, Joe Green related the following statistics in the reasons why women choose abortions in America:

Wants to postpone childbearing: 25.5% • Wants no (more) children: 7.9% • Cannot afford a baby: 21.3% • Having a child will disrupt education or job: 10.8% • Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy: 14.1% • Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy: 12.2% • Risk to maternal health: 2.8% • Risk to fetal health: 3.3% • Other: 2.1% (Why I Call it Murder)

Unfortunately, I am not for certain where these statistics were specifically drawn from.  What I am aware of is that the rate of abortions has declined dramatically over the past 30 years (Decreasing 33% from a peak of 29 abortions per 1,000 women in 1980 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004) and for this we should be extremely grateful! 

However, the rate of abortions among blacks, Hispanics, lower income, and women in their 20s and 30s have increased (Guttmacher Institute, Trends in Characteristics of Women Obtaining Abortions: 1974 to 2004).  Even though the statistics alluded to by Mr. Green may be correct in many regards overall, it is important for us to consider our countries changing demographics and trends among those that do choose to end the life of their unborn child.  This is why I propose we not only consider the macro (big picture) level of the abortion debate, but that we need to address the micro (small picture) level of the abortion debate.

That is, we need to not only concern ourselves with the Roe v. Wade but with policies that may indirectly influence women in choosing to have an abortion.

Indirectly Influencing Life

Considering that the abortion rate is three to five times higher among non-Hispanic white women and those from a lower income (Growing Disparities), we should be directly concerned with those policies that indirectly affect a woman’s decision in having an abortion.  Sharon Camp, who is the Guttmacher Institutue President and CEO, said:

But at the same time, abortions are becoming more concentrated among women of color and low-income women. This presents a clear challenge to policymakers to redouble their efforts to improve access to subsidized contraceptive services for these women, thereby helping them to prevent the unintended pregnancies behind these abortions from occurring in the first place.

In addition to these recommendations, policymakers should consider other areas that influence abortion rates, such as financial and relational stability and parenting skills.  If one of the major reasons why women choose to have an abortion is due the uncertainty of their relationship with their spouse or partner, then policymakers should encourage means of financially subsidizing marital counseling and encouraging marriage between unwed partners.     

Directly Influencing Life

Not only is a clear challenge presented to policymakers in adapting policy to encourage women to give birth, but

When pregnancy and childbirth occur outside of marriage or at a time of marital or family crisis, difficulties arise that typically call for the assumption of extraordinary responsibilities by extended family members, supportive friends and neighbors, churches, social service organizations, and/or public authorities.  All such assistance should aim to support and nurture life, marriage, and the family, rather than to encourage abortion (Guidelines for Government and Citizenship).

Ladies and gentlemen, we all play an extremely vital role in the life of one that may be contemplating an abortion.  It is not enough for us to pray for one and send them on their way.  We must find ways both individually and communally in not only encouraging women to have birth, but providing ongoing financial, emotional, and relational support. 


In combating abortion and encouraging life we must not only consider policies that allow for one to have an abortion, but we must also consider those policies that indirectly affect a women’s choice.  Moreover, we need to consider both individually and communally how we can encourage and support those that may be facing an unwanted or difficult pregnancy. 

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Jesse Wisnewski currently serves as the Executive Administrator of Perrow Church in Cross Lanes, WV. He is currently attending Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte and is completing coursework towards a Master of Divinity. Jesse and his wife Jessica have two sons.


Written by Jeremy Dys

October 9, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Posted in Life

Tagged with , , , ,

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