Research: Why women have abortions even when they understand it means killing their own child?

The summary report of the study bears the intriguing title “Abortion: The Least Of Three Evils-Understanding the Psychological Dynamics of How Women Feel About Abortion.” The report suggests that women do not see any “good” resulting from an unplanned pregnancy. Instead they must weigh what they perceive as three “evils,” namely, motherhood, adoption, and abortion.

Unplanned motherhood, according to the study, represents a threat so great to modern women that it is perceived as equivalent to a “death of self.” While the woman may rationally understand this is not her own literal death, her emotional, subconscious reaction to carrying the child to term is that her life will be “over.” This is because many young women of today have developed a self-identity that simply does not include being a mother. It may include going through college, getting a degree, obtaining a good job, even getting married someday; but the sudden intrusion of motherhood is perceived as a complete loss of control over their present and future selves. It shatters their sense of who they are and will become, and thereby paralyzes their ability to think more rationally or realistically.

When these women evaluate the abortion decision, therefore, they do not, as a pro-lifer might, formulate the problem with the radically distinct options of either “I must endure an embarrassing pregnancy” or “I must destroy the life of an innocent child.” Instead, their perception of the choice is either “my life is over” or “the life of this new child is over.” Given this perspective, the choice of abortion becomes one of self-preservation, a much more defensible position, both to the woman deciding to abort and to those supporting her decision.

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