, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 197-209

Pregnant women's attitudes toward the abortion of defective fetuses

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A survey asked 190 pregnant women their opinions on whether a hypothetical other woman would be justified in having an abortion under ten different circumstances, four of which related to abnormalities of the fetus. They were then asked whether they would be justified in having an abortion under these same circumstances. Also assessed were these women's views concerning the justifiability of abortion for a specific group of fetal abnormalities, neural tube defects. Respondents were more likely to view abortion as justifiable for a hypothetical other than for themselves. However, there was no evidence that pregnant women's views about abortion are more conservative than those of the general public. The majority of respondents considered abortion of a defective fetus to be justified, both for themselves and for others. The best predictor of abortion attitudes was respondent's views about the ideal number of children in a completed family.