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Unintended Pregnancy

  • Women surviving on low incomes have higher rates of unintended pregnancy.[2] This is not surprising, given the challenges they face in accessing contraception and consistently using it correctly.

  • In addition to higher rates of unintended pregnancy, a Toronto study found higher rates of sexually transmitted infections in those aged 15-24 living on low incomes.[4]

  • Once pregnant, disadvantaged adolescents are less likely to have an abortion.[4] Data from the city of Winnipeg showed that young women in the highest income quintile have higher rates of abortion and lower rates of live birth than young women in the lowest income quintile.[5]

  • Women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to have a positive view of adoption as an option for the resolution of an unintended pregnancy.[6]


Can you think of reasons why abortion rates would vary between women from high and low income backgrounds?


Can you think of reasons why socioeconomic status would influence a woman’s view of adoption?


2. Parker, RM, Williams, MV, Baker, DW, Nurss, JR. Literacy and contraception: Exploring the link. Obstetrics and Gynecology 1996;88:72S-77S.

4. Singh, S, Darroch, JE, Frost, JJ, et al. Socioeconomic disadvantage and adolescent women’s sexual and reproductive behaviour. Family Planning Perspectives 2001;33:251-9.

5. Donner, L. Women, income and health in Manitoba: An overview and ideas for action. 2002. Winnipeg, Women’s Health Clinic.

6. Campbell, JC, Pugh, LC, Campbell, D & Visscher, M. The influence of abuse on pregnancy intention. Women’s Health Issues 1995:5;214-223.

All references for this section