The pro-life group And Then There Were None held a webcast in which former abortion workers told their stories. Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson asked Adrienne Moton, who once worked for Philadelphia “House of Horrors” abortionist Kermit Gosnell, whether women ever came in for repeat abortions. Moton responded:
Oh yes. To the point where we’re calling each other by first names. There is one woman, I don’t remember her name and I wouldn’t say her name – she was there 18 times. And she was just – I said, “18?” And she was just like, hey. It was like a birth control for her. That was her birth control method.
Repeat abortions happen overseas as well. British reporter Daniel Martin wrote, “It is not unknown for some women to have seven, eight or even nine terminations in their lifetime.” According to public records, in 2010, 85 British women each had their eighth abortion.1
I have written in the past about it is often frustrating for abortion workers and doctors to see women coming for multiple repeat abortions. There are many examples of abortion workers complaining about these women. One abortion worker said:
Women attending for repeat abortions do evoke powerful primitive feelings in us. We both have experience of women attending up to their fifth termination. It is hard to remain open to a woman and not fall into the easier position of being judgmental of her (or other health professionals).1
Author Louise Kapp Howe quotes another abortion worker, saying:
It can be sort of tricky. Someone like that mother of three, what are you supposed to say to her? “Hey, after today, I hope we never have to see you again?” What purpose would that serve? Aside from making her feel guilty. None of us can be so sure we won’t wind up back here no matter how carefully we use birth control. …
You know, it’s one thing if the woman has an abortion when she’s, say, 17 and then she’s back again in four years and then in another five years. These kinds of accidents can easily occur over time. But when you see someone back year after year… I think it’s important to take her aside and try to help her figure out what’s been going wrong.3
Howe later says that many people consider women who have repeat abortions irresponsible. She says, “[I] heard this position expressed most angrily not only in expected political circles but also among numerous staff members at other abortion clinics.”4
An abortion worker at the Abortioneers blog made the comment:
[T]he fact of the matter is there are women who will present in a clinic five, six, seven times for a procedure. This makes a lot of people, myself included, uncomfortable on some level.
Several more abortion workers responded to the Abortioneers blog post. One said:
[T]he more I talk to people about it I come to find that some women simply don’t want to use hormonal/unnatural contraception. Period. And these are not always poor, disadvantage [sic], unaware women. Just as responsible and knowledgeable women make the choice to have abortions, those same women sometimes choose not to use anything. And that’s still OK!
In fact, this is the more logical position for a pro-abortion person to take. If abortion is only the removal of cells or tissue, and not the killing of a developing baby, why should it matter if the woman has more than one? The fact that repeat abortions make some workers uncomfortable shows they realize, deep down, what abortion is.
Other commenters on The Abortioneers blog agreed with the worker above. For example:
[T]here ARE valid reasons NOT to choose an IUD or implant, and for a few people (as we’ve written before) taking a chance that they’ll need an abortion really is the safest way to manage THEIR fertility, because of whatever combo of medical conditions (ex. hormone sensitivities) or life situation (ex. controlling partner) they may have.
Then a woman who uses abortion as birth control chimed in:
I’m one of those repeat offenders. I’m pregnant for the 3rd time and having my second abortion and I’m only 21 years old. I’m also someone who refuses to take birth control because of the health risks andabortions seem to be the safest way to control pregnancy. I gave my first child up for adoption when I was 15. I never wanted children, still don’t, and never will.
But she is still sexually active and intends to continue having abortions. No mention of whether she has considered permanent sterilization.
Some women do use abortion as birth control, and this sometimes makes even abortionists and abortion workers uncomfortable.
- Daniel Martin “NHS spends £1m a week on repeat abortions: Single women using terminations ‘as another form of contraceptive’” Daily Mail 13 May 2012
- Joanna Brien, Ida Fairbairn Pregnancy and Abortion Counseling (London: Routledge, 1996) 122
- Louise Kapp Howe Moments on Maple Avenue: The Reality of Abortion (New York: Warner Books, 1984) 156 – 157
- Ibid. 154