Understanding the Pregnancy Decision-Making Process Among Couples Seeking Induced Abortion
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OBJECTIVE: The role of partners in the abortion experience is complex and poorly understood. We sought to examine how women and their partners navigate the pregnancy decision-making process. METHODS: Thirty couples presenting for abortion completed questionnaires exploring experiences leading to the abortion. Participants were sequestered from their partners during completion of the study, and booklets were coded to allow comparison within couples. This portion of the study explored partner involvement in the decision-making process. RESULTS: One half of women had decided on abortion before informing their partner of the pregnancy. Of those who were undecided at the time of disclosure, all sought their partner's advice. Most participants (84%) were happy with the amount of discussion that took place with their partners, although one fifth of women and nearly one third of men could have discussed it more. More women than men were happy with the discussions that took place (96.6% vs. 70.4%). Two thirds of respondents viewed the decision to have an abortion as being made by both partners, one quarter viewed the decision as being mostly the woman's choice, and 5% viewed the decision as being mostly the male partner's choice. CONCLUSION: Although making the choice to have an abortion rests with the woman, her partner may play a role in the decision-making process, particularly when the woman is undecided. For many couples presenting for abortion, the decision is seen as being made jointly by both partners. Further research may identify opportunities to foster greater partner support throughout a woman's abortion experience.
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