Pregnancy Risk Taking and Abortion
In many cases an unwanted pregnancy is clearly a matter of contraceptive failure. About 54% of women who have had an abortion were using contraception when they became pregnant (Guttmacher Institute, 2011a). For other women or couples seeking abortions, the pregnancy can be traced to contraceptive risk taking—that is, not using contraceptives consistently or reliably, sometimes because of inconvenience, side effects of certain methods, or perceived low risk of pregnancy (Perlman & McKee, 2009). Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs reduces judgment and greatly increases contraceptive risk taking, unless the woman is using a method such as the pill or IUD. Women who feel guilty about sex may not proactively use contraception because doing so acknowledges their intent to engage in intercourse. Women may also not be assertive about contraception if they fear alienating a partner by asking for his cooperation in planning and using birth control.