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Domestic Violence Linked to Abortions

Update Date: Jan 08, 2014 04:10 PM EST

Domestic violence has been linked to termination of pregnancy, according to a new study.

Researchers found that women stuck in abusive relationships often don't tell their partners about terminating their pregnancies.

Lead researcher Susan Bewley of Kings College London looked at 74 published studies that looked at intimate partner violence (which could be physical, sexual, or emotional/ psychological) among women who had had a termination. Study results revealed that intimate partner rates among women undergoing abortion ranged from 2.5 percent to 30 percent in the preceding year and from 14 percent to 40 percent over their lifetime.

On average, the lifetime rate of intimate partner violence was 25 percent for women seeking termination of pregnancy. Researchers also found that some intimate partner violence was associated with single and repeat termination of pregnancy.

Women undergoing abortions were often open to discussing their experiences of intimae partner violence and to be offered help. Researchers said this finding suggests that abortion clinics are an appropriate setting where people can test interventions designed to reduce domestic violence.

While these findings vary among the included studies, researchers said there is a high chance of under-reporting of both intimate partner violence and termination of pregnancy in the included studies. The studies were also lacking validation of reports of violence through, for instance, reports from the police.

"Intimate partner violence is associated with pregnancy termination. Novel public health approaches are required to address violence against women and repeat termination. Termination services provide an opportune health-based setting in which to design and test interventions at the individual level," researchers concluded.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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