Induced abortion has mostly been studied from one particular point of view. Hence, sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists often focus on the analysis of prevailing norms, values and laws regarding induced abortion; psychologists like to study women’s individual emotional wellbeing pre- and post-abortion; and medical doctors mostly pay attention to the study of the best abortion techniques. The starting point of the current analysis of the decision to have an abortion is a systemic-contextual perspective on the issue. From that point of view, attention is being paid to the different levels at which a decision for abortion occurs: the societal and group level (who is being confronted with an unintended pregnancy; who decides to have an abortion and why?), the very often neglected relational and interpersonal level (who else is involved in this decision and how do these people play a role?) and finally the individual and intrapersonal level (how does the woman experience the decisional process herself?). By making use of five empirical studies, described in the doctoral thesis of the main author, an answer is given to remaining research questions at each of these three levels. For the purpose of the doctoral thesis, a population based survey on sexual and reproductive health, administrated to men and women living in Flanders (Sexpert, 2013), was combined with specific survey studies in women opting for induced abortion and male partners involved in the abortion process. The results provide an insight into the complexity of this issue and inform the reader about three different stories.
Objective: In the Netherlands, about 400 women every year, seek help at Fiom for dealing with psycho-social complaints after an abortion. We examined files of these women, trying to find common risk factors. We especially checked the influence of experiencing doubt and pressure during the decision making process. The effectiveness of the online intervention Dealing with abortion (DWA) has been examined. Methods: Files of DWA-clients have been studied (447 intakes and 48 evaluations). The ‘Complaints score’ was the dependent variable. Correlations have been examined with socio-demographic variables, factors related to the abortion and the moment of seeking help. The concepts ‘Doubt’ and ‘Pressure’ during the decision making process have been constructed and analysed with MAXQDA and SPSS, version 22. Results: Pressure of the partner or other close relatives to choose for abortion is found to be related to a higher complaints score than women who did not report pressure (M=7.8 versus M=7.6). Women who felt forced to choose for abortion show statistically significant higher complaints scores (M=8.7). Positive indices for the effectiveness of the DWA have been found. Conclusion: This study shows the importance of unintended pregnant women, to experience freedom of making their own choice of having an abortion or not. Professionals working with unintended pregnant women should well explore the motivation of women choosing for abortion and be alert of pressure of male-partner or other close relatives.