Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sharing My Cousin's Research

My cousin Sandra graduated from college this past winter with a Bachelor of Science degree in social sciences, minoring in psychology. (I'm SO proud of her!) She did some interesting group research for one of her final papers that included field work at a Planned Parenthood facility. Sandra has allowed me to share her research paper and field experience below because, like me, she is passionate about the life issue.

What I found so interesting about my cousin's research is the idea that most women who terminate pregnancies have some level of college education, and that women who belong to pro-life religious groups don't necessarily chose life when faced with the decision. Also my cousin's feelings, based on her field work experience, that Planned Parenthood seems to counsel with a bias towards the option of abortion, and a lack of materials and support in the area of choosing life is something I have long suspected without proof.

The rest of this post is in my beautiful, strong, smart (not so little anymore) cousin's words.
(I love you, Sandra.)

This is directly from the research paper-

The paper analyzed and researched the reasons why women seek abortions. We found that
the decision to abort or to continue a pregnancy is based on many factors, including, but not limited to: religion, education, income and marital status.

Never-married women obtain 2/3 of all abortions. Most women getting abortions (83%) are unmarried; 67% have never married, and 16% are separated, divorced, or widowed. (NAF,2003) Single women who know the father will not participate in caring for the child may feel as though having the abortion would result in better outcomes for everyone involved. “Unmarried women were more likely than married women to say their abortion was mainly motivated by relationship problems.” (The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2005). Many feel that the most responsible course of action is to wait until their situation is more suited to child rearing; 66% plan to have children when they are older, financially able to provide necessities for them, and/or in a supportive relationship with a partner so their children will have two parents. (National Abortion Federation)

The level of education of a woman also plays a role in her decision on whether or not to abort. 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities. (GRTL,2009) Perhaps it is because of the years of school a woman intends to complete, that she opts for an abortion. Having a child could come into opposition with these plans. Of the women obtaining abortions in 2003, 57% had some college education. (National Abortion Federation, 2003)

Many women who report having strong religious beliefs will terminate a pregnancy despite those beliefs. Forty-three percent of women getting an abortion identify as Protestant & 27% as Catholic (Guttmacher Institute, 2005). So even though these religions make it very clear that abortion is 'sinful,' it does not seem like all followers abide by these religious rules.

The income of an individual impacts the decision to have an abortion. “The decision to have an abortion is rarely simple. Most women base their choice on several factors, the most common being a lack of money and/or not feeling prepared to start or expand their families due to existing responsibilities.”(National Abortion Federation)

On average, women give at least 3 reasons for choosing abortion: 3/4 say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or other responsibilities; about 2/3 say they cannot afford a child; and 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner. (GRTL,2009) Most of the studies concluded that women frequently end pregnancies because of education goals, religion, marital status, and income.

This is what my cousin shared with me in conversation regarding the field work at Planned Parenthood:

In order to conduct the research my group members and I were asked to go out and do field work. A suggestion was to visit Planned Parenthood in order to collect information on why people make the decision to abort. My thoughts at this point were that any information they could offer would be really beneficial to our project.

The place was really difficult to find because it’s basically hidden. Now, I completely understand confidentiality issues, but this isn’t therapy. The secluded nature of the property made me feel as if people who are going there know they are doing something wrong.

After explaining who we were and why we were there, we were directed to the attention of a “counselor,” who seemed very willing to talk with us. After only about 15 minutes I learned that:

“Having a baby is a big decision not unlike picking the color of a brand new car,


“Sometimes girls in college are too far away from home to have a baby.”

What?! It was more than challenging to keep my cool during this meeting. I left not without bringing it to everyone’s attention that I am a proud, young, single mother who is currently finishing school. I also left feeling sick to my stomach. The counselor did not mention anything about choosing life, even when I spoke up about my personal experience. These are the kind of people we have influencing young pregnant women? I think this kind of organization shouldn't be allowed to run anymore, especially because it doesn't give equal time to "counseling" life options upfront. The lives of innocent victims are being wasted and Planned Parenthood takes part largely in their deaths.

My daughter was not a choice. She was a gift, and she is the greatest one I’ve ever received.

the statistics in Sandra's paper were taken from:

Abigail, W (2008 June). Changing patterns in women seeking terminations of pregnancy: A trend analysis of data from one service provider 1996-2006 . Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 32

Adamczyk, A (2008 June). The effects of religious contextual norms, structural constraints, and personal religiosity on abortion decisions. Social Science Research, 37

Chervenak, ,F (2008, Sept). The ethics of direct and indirect referral for termination of pregnancy. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 199.3

Tanne, J (2009 Nov 29). van Emmerick, A (2008 Nov/Dec). Prevalence and prediction of re-experiencing and avoidance after elective surgical abortion: a prospective study. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 15, . British Medical Journal, 337


rhymeswithplague said...

A very good paper from your cousin. As a man, I suppose my opinion doesn't count on the subject matter, but as a practicing Christian who is thoroughly pro-life, I want to make a comment of a different sort.

To say that Protestants "make it very clear that abortion is sinful" is to misunderstand the nature of Protestantism, which is not a monolithic organization with an infallible authority figure. Just the opposite, really -- for all practical purposes, each denomination does what is right in its own eyes, and there are several hundred denominations. It is true that the Bible makes it very clear, and the Bible is authoritative for many conservative (pro-life) Protestants, but a very large portion of the liberal end of Protestantism (pro-choice) tends to disregard what the Bible says in order to follow their own political and social agenda (that is my own somewhat biased opinion). If the choices on Planned Parenthood's list of religions are "Catholic" and "Protestant" we cannot know the religious beliefs of those who mark "Protestant."

Also, saying that "the secluded nature of the property made me feel as if people who are going there know they are doing something wrong" introduces the opinion of your cousin into the paper, which should have been kept thoroughly objective with statistics, I think. Even though I agree with her view, the same statement could be made about honeymoon suites, which are not "wrong" but do include activities best not carried out in public. "Seclusion" equals "privacy" in my book, not "wrong" -- although I agree that abortion is wrong because it ends an innocent human life.

Otherwise, great paper.

Loren Christie said...

Hi Mr. Brague, Thank you for the insightful comment regarding religious ideas. I put a break in the post to show where the research paper ends, and where her field experience reflection begins. That was my mistake- I should have indicated it.

Putz said...

i need to be as insightful as mr. bob brague so here goes>>>>in UTAH Right at this very momment legislation is being drafted against women who hire a teenage boy to punch her not too terriblely hard in the stomack in order to cause an abortion>>>this woman who ever she is would then be chargeed with murder>>>..sounds silly to me even though i am so pro life i can't stand myself>>>i guess i can't see that happenening to often to have legislation for it>>>also to eliminate the twelveth grade here in utah>>>what is you opinion??????

Loren Christie said...

Hi Mr. Putz, and thank you for the INSIGHTFUL comment. :) My opinion is: Keep the 12th grade. In comparison to some other nations, Americans are dumber than ever,(myself included).

About the woman who hired a man to punch her in an attempt to cause a miscarriage: If that can be proven in a court though legitimate evidence, then yes, lock her up. That's attempted murder. However, if it's just all a bunch of hearsay drama for which there is no physical evidence, then she should not be held accountable under the law.

Chubasco said...

Nicely written article. I am concerned however, that your cousin's field work was seemingly comprised of one visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Consider the validity of the other statistics mentioned in her research paper--if only one person who had an abortion was surveyed and found to be a college graduate, with a middle-class income and a Catholic upbringing would you then conclude that this was representative of all women who have abortions? The false logic of the conclusion about Planned Parenthood is just highlighted by the statistics used in the rest of the paper.

To fully disclose, I am an employee of Planned Parenthood and in my experience here, the people who counsel our patients are committed to the well being of the patient and serving the needs of the patient--whether that means having a baby or having an abortion. The people that I work with don't seem to have a bias one way or the other. They do recognize though, that they are working at one of the few places that will take a stand for those women's right to choose.

Although Planned Parenthood is a leading provider of abortions, that is in fact a very small percentage of what we do. Most of our time and resources are spent educating and empowering people to reduce the occurence of unintentional pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Thank you for the dialog.

Loren Christie said...

Chubasco, Thanks for commenting. You add another dimension to the discussion. Approximately 3,500 babies are aborted in the United States daily. In addition, studies show that women who have abortions suffer from emotional trama. Planned Parenthood causes overwhelmingly more harm than good in this world. Handing women contraception is not educating them. Telling people that sex can be "safe" is a lie. I sincerely hope you quit working for Planned Parenthood.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Thank you for sharing Sandra's paper. Please pass on my congratulations on her educational advancement! I went to a Planned Parenthood once for a pregnancy test when I had no insurance - not knowing what kind of place it was - I soon realized that while waiting in a room filled with displays of different types of condoms and when immediately asked if I had intended to become pregnant - was also forced to undergo a pap smear which I was not expecting. The woman was not gentle or understanding. It was a horrible experience.

Loren Christie said...

Hi Elizabeth, Thanks for sharing that experience and adding to this discussion.

Koala Bear Writer said...

Always interesting to see the comments that this sort of post brings up. :) Interesting paper, Loren; thanks for sharing it. Live Action is a pro-life group that has been doing a lot of work to expose some of Planned Parenthood's shadier actions; you can check out more at

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

Be Our Guest!

Be Our Guest!
Come tour the John Scudder Havens Historic Homestead at 15 Main Street, Center Moriches, NY. Click on the picture for more infomation.

Search This Blog