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Differences and delay in the decision to seek induced abortion among black and white women

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Delay deciding to abort and, consequently, increased risk of complication and death occurs significantly more often in black versus white women. This study is of 113 black and 179 white women aborted at Yale-New Haven Hospital and compares their decision to seek abortion, particularly differences in delay. Delay seeing a physician, deciding to abort, and suspecting pregnancy were, in rank order, the three most important stages of delay in both racial groups. Locating the abortion facility had minimal effect on overall delay. Black women were significantly later in gestation at abortion than white women (12.3 vs. 10.6 mean weeks respectively), delayed longer at each stage of the decision and were significantly longer suspecting pregnancy (5.4 vs. 3.9 mean weeks respectively). Later gestation at abortion among black women was independent of their significantly lower economic status and greater instability of parental and own family. Relative previous inexperience with the health care system and less support for the decision to abort from the respondent's mother and partner arose consistently as themes for interpreting the correlates of greater delay among black women at all stages of the decision process. Causal modeling summarized the analyses of the overall decision to abort and explained 29.4% and 43.8 % of the variance in weeks gestation at abortion of the black and white women in the sample respectively.

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Bracken, M.B., Kasl, S.V. Differences and delay in the decision to seek induced abortion among black and white women. Soc Psychiatry 12, 57–70 (1977).

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  • Public Health
  • Health Care
  • Decision Process
  • Health Care System
  • Economic Status