The report, co-authored by the Family Research Council's Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) director, Pat Fagan, Ph.D., and Visiting Fellow Scott Talkington, Ph.D., was based on data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). It found that almost 90 percent of women admitting to at least one abortion have had at least three sexual partners. Women from intact families had an abortion rate 10 percent lower than women from broken families.
At an event discussing the report, pro-life Congressman Chris Smith, R-NJ, said the findings demonstrate the need for H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Smith, who was one of two lead cosponsors of H.R. 7, explained that “we have to do more, we have to go the extra mile” to protect “unborn children and their mothers.” He called abortion “the antithesis of compassion.”
Explaining the relationship between multiple sexual partners and a higher chance of having an abortion, Fagan cautioned the audience to look at the trend that more partners results in more abortions, not the specific percentages in the report. He said that the report likely suffered from underreporting due to women not admitting they had abortions when the NSFG was conducted.
There is “a battle that is going on…in culture and in laws between Christian sexuality and what I would call pagan sexuality,” said Fagan. He highlighted how the report shows those who ignore Christ's teachings on divorce and lust face greater difficulties. “What seems restrictive is actually liberating,” he said.
“Here you see [Christ's teaching] violated, and the child especially suffers the most. But the women also suffer…By their mid-thirties, you can see that the marriages break down massively with the first number of extra sexual partners,” Fagan said.
According to the report, there is little relation between women who have abortions and educational and income levels. The relationship between “the age of sexual initiation” and abortion, however, is strong, Fagan said.
The report showed 6.2 percent of women who first had sex at or after the age of 20 and had at some point been pregnant have abortions. Nearly six times as many women who first had sex at age 12 or younger had abortions, and over six times as many women whose sexually active lives began at age 14.
In responding to a question from LifeSiteNews.com about the high abortion rate among black American women – 27.8 percent of black women who have been pregnant have had abortions – Fagan said the problem has its roots in Planned Parenthood's introduction of contraception to black Americans in the late 1940s. Fagan said this caused a breakdown in the black family that continues today.
“In 1941… [the] black family was 90% intact,” said Fagan. “Kids live with mom and dad. Today, 17% intact.”
“In their prior incarnation, [Planned Parenthood] targeted the black family because of the eugenic thing. They didn't want as many black children around. … Contraception made its way in there, and the breakdown in marriage began first in the late 40s at a much higher rate for blacks.”
He also said “it is more than suggestive” that 99.2 percent of women who have had abortions use contraception. Talkington said a panel survey, which tracks survey respondents over many years or even decades, would be needed to accurately depict the relationship.
LifeSiteNews asked Fagan about the seemingly contradictory fact that annual abortions have gone down, according to the Guttmacher Institute, while the “hook-up culture” has accelerated.
In response, he said, “What you have going on simultaneously…is a licensing on matters sexual…and becoming more pro-life.” “Young people are becoming pro-life” while they increasingly engage in pre-marital sexual relations, he said.
The report also showed that women from intact families had 46.7 percent of abortions, while women from “not an always-intact family” had 53.3 percent of abortions. Of women who had been pregnant coming from the same familial background, about one-sixth of women who lived with “two biological or adoptive parents from birth” had abortions, while over one-quarter of women from “not an always intact family” background had abortions.