Why Reducing Poverty Will Reduce Abortion

Social programs to help the poor would have a big impact.

Sarah Terzo


Photo By zahar2000 at Canva

A woman’s financial situation has a big impact on whether she has or considers an abortion.

Poverty and Abortion Statistics in the United States

One of the most common reasons women give for having abortions is they can’t afford to care for their baby.

In a 2004 study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, of U.S. women who had abortions, 73% gave this as one of the reasons.

There’s evidence the situation may be even worse today. Women getting abortions are more likely to be poor than those who had the procedure roughly 30 years ago.

While only 16% of women of childbearing age in the general population live below the poverty line, in 2014, 49% of women getting abortions did. In 2008, the percentage was 42%. In 1994, it was about 25%.

The percentage of women having abortions who are poor is steadily increasing: 2.3% per year between 2008 and 2014.

Additionally, of women having abortions, 26% had incomes of 100% to 199% of the poverty line. Yet these women are only 18% of the population.(1)

In an article in the New York Times, demographer Diana Greene Foster said, “The patient population in abortion clinics is increasingly made up of poor women.”

Poverty and Abortion Statistics in Great Britain

The abortion rate is increasing in Great Britain. There were 209,519 abortions reported in England and Wales in 2019, the highest number on record.

The abortion rate went from 17.4 per 1000 women in 2018 to 18 per 1000 women in 2019. Driving up the numbers is an increased abortion rate for married women with children.

According to The British Pregnancy Advisory Service, financial reasons play a role. The BPAS is a chain of abortion facilities. Its director of external affairs, Claire Murphy, says:

The reasons for this increase will be complex but women and their partners, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, will make decisions based on the circumstances they find themselves in —…



Sarah Terzo

Sarah Terzo is a journalist who supports the Consistent Life Ethic, which opposes all violence & seeks to protect human life from conception to natural death.