Abortion: Findings from women and men participating in the Understanding Fertility Management in contemporary Australia national survey

Heather Rowe, Sara Holton, Maggie Kirkman, Christine Bayly, Lynne Jordan, Kathleen McNamee, John McBain, Vikki Sinnott, Jane Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background There are few reliable Australian abortion data. The aim was to investigate prevalence, sexual experiences and socioeconomic characteristics of women and men who report having had or being a partner in an abortion. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of women and men aged 18-50 years randomly selected from the Australian Electoral Roll was used. Weighted multivariable analyses were conducted. Results: Data from 2235 returned (of 15480) mailed surveys were analysed. One in six women and one in 10 men had experienced or been a partner in an abortion. In adjusted analyses, for women, experience of sexual coercion [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 2.18, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.46, 3.24] was associated with significantly increased odds of abortion, and socioeconomic advantage (AOR≤0.57; 95% CI 0.39, 0.84), being comfortable negotiating contraceptive use (AOR 0.26; 95% CI 0.09, 0.73) and importance of religion in fertility choices (AOR≤0.55; 95% CI 0.35, 0.87) were associated with significantly reduced odds. For men, sexual coercion (AOR≤3.05; 95% CI 1.51, 6.18) and metropolitan residence (AOR≤1.70; 95% CI 1.06, 2.75) significantly increased the odds of reporting being a partner in an abortion. Conclusions: The findings contribute to scarce information about abortion in Australia. The high prevalence of abortion suggests that effective contraceptive counselling and accessible contraception services are not sufficient, and that there is a continuing need for universal pregnancy advice and abortion services. The association between sexual coercion and abortion warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-573
Number of pages8
JournalSexual Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • gender
  • pregnancy termination
  • reproductive health
  • social determinants
  • termination of pregnancy.

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