Abortions preventable by contraceptive practice.

C. F. Westoff, J. S. DeLung, N. Goldman, J. D. Forrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Analysis based on data collected from abortion facilities in Illinois during 1980. It was found that even if all women used the pill or IUD, there would still be about 450 thousand abortions performed annually. From 17 to 70% of abortions now performed could theoretically be averted if there were different patterns of contraceptive use. Substitution of some method for no method makes the biggest difference in abortions averted since more than 1/2 of abortion patients report that they used no method at the time they conceived. However, only 1/4 normally did not use a method, and only 13% of women at risk of unintended pregnancy in the general population normally do not use a method. Increasing the use of even less effective methods can have a major impact on reducing the need for abortion. If all women exposed to the risk of unintended pregnancy employed the same methods as users in the general population (excluding sterilization), the number of abortions could be halved. If all women used the more effective methods, including sterilization (methods tended to be chosen by women following abortion) the number of abortions could be cut by 3/4. These findings suggest the need to reach women with accurate information about contraception and with accessible services, and the importance of offering contraceptive advice and services at the time of abortion. Development of safer, more acceptable, highly effective contraceptives would further reduce the need for abortion. author's modified

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-223
Number of pages6
JournalFamily Planning Perspectives
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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