Teen Girls Whose Mothers Had Abortions are More Likely to Have Abortions Too

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 29, 2018   |   6:27PM   |   Washington, DC

Like mother, like daughter. A new Canadian study found that teen girls who had abortions were more likely to be born to mothers who also had abortions.

The study, published January in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal,” also found that teenagers who had multiple abortions were more likely to have mothers who had multiple abortions.

“Research shows there is an association between mothers and daughters in the timing of a first pregnancy ending in a live birth,” said Dr. Joel Ray and Ning Liu, researchers at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, in Toronto, Ontario. “We wanted to see whether the same tendency exists for pregnancies ending in an induced abortion.”

Medical Xpress reports the researchers collected data from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences on 431,623 daughters and their mothers in Ontario.

Of those, 73,518 daughters had mothers who had at least one abortion, and 358,105 daughters had mothers who did not. According to the study, 10.1 percent of the daughters in the first group also aborted unborn babies during their teen years. In comparison, 4.2 percent of the daughters in the second group had abortions during their teen years.

The researchers noted: “As the majority of those abortions (94.5 percent) occurred before 15 weeks gestation, it’s unlikely that the reason was a genetic or birth defect in the fetus in most cases and it may be reasonable to assume social indications.”

The researchers said the issue deserves more study. They did not explore the trend as related to information about fathers, marital status, education or attitudes, according to the report.

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“We don’t know what factors cause this association, as it was beyond the scope of our study,” Ning Liu said. “Previous studies have found a higher likelihood of teen abortion if a young woman has greater social challenges, including poor school performance, separation from a biological parent, lower parental education, and receipt of income support.”

Ray said they also would like to explore possible strategies to help parents teach their teens about sex and pregnancy.

The teen pregnancy rate in Canada is 28 per 1,000, and more than half of the teens abort their unborn babies.