Abortion, as murder, therefore sin, which is the religious argument, is no more sinful, from a scriptural point of view, than all other sins we don’t legislate against, like greed, hate and fornication, the latter, being fornication, I would say, is probably the single most likely cause of unwanted pregnancies in this country.
If fornication merely means having sex then it is trivially true that it is responsible for all pregnancies, other than medically assisted ones (although in that case, it’s safe to assume they were “wanted.”) Given that TD Mulherin describes fornication as a sin, she presumably means sexual intercourse between two people who are not married to each other. I also assume that by unwanted pregnancies, she means crisis pregnancies.
A pregnancy which is neither planned nor desired by the woman concerned, and which represents a personal crisis for her.
However in the report, they suggest:
Since ‘crisis pregnancy’ encompasses a far broader set of circumstances, CPA has suggested that the definition also include the experience of women for whom a planned or desired pregnancy develops into a crisis over time due to a change in circumstances.
Although it is true to say that most crisis pregnancies occur outside marriage, this does not make the fact that couples are not married the single most likely cause of crisis pregnancies.
Unfortunately, the most recent ICCP survey (2010) was not available for analysis so the ICCP 2003 survey must suffice as a guide. The following table lists the leading causes, with the fact that the pregnancy was unplanned being the leading factor.
As can be seen below, a teenager is highly likely to cite her youth as a reason for a crisis pregnancy, whereas in other age groups, the fact the pregnancy wasn’t planned is the leading reason.
TD Mulherin is correct to imply most couples were not married when the crisis pregnancy occurred but it is not the case that the couples weren’t in a relationship. In fact in 71% of cases, the couple were in some sort of steady relationship, as can be seen here:
An interesting aside is the effect the recession is having on whether a pregnant woman considers her pregnancy a crisis. Last summer, the Crisis Pregnancy Agency conducted a survey with a sample of 2,300 women randomly selected from the Department of Social Protection’s universal child benefit register which comprised of women whose youngest child was born between July 2007 and June 2009. It found that:
- The economic down-turn is having a clear impact on reports of crisis pregnancy as almost 50% of the women who experienced a crisis pregnancy stated that financial concerns contributed to the crisis.
- 27% of working women who experienced a crisis pregnancy stated that workplace factors such as ‘work plans’ or ‘work commitments’ or ‘concern about the reaction from employers or co-workers’ to the pregnancy had contributed to the crisis.
- There is a strong link between experiences of unfair treatment at work and crisis pregnancy: Women who experienced more than one form of unfair treatment were at an increased risk of experiencing a crisis pregnancy.
- The availability of flexible working practices was associated with a reduced likelihood of crisis pregnancy for women in employment. Mothers who experienced lower levels of work-family conflict during pregnancy were less likely to report a crisis pregnancy.
- Up to 30% reported experiencing unfair treatment even though 71%, reported that they had a supportive employer in the context of their pregnancy.
- 5% of women employed during pregnancy reported that they were dismissed, made redundant or treated so badly that they had to leave their job.
- Unfair treatment was more commonly reported by younger women, women expecting their second child, women working in the retail and wholesale sector, women working in organisations with few flexible work arrangements and in workplaces that didn’t have a formal equality policy. – Unfair treatment was less common among women working for small organizations and in workplaces that had a formal equality policy.
- The most common form of unfair treatment was being assigned unsuitable work or workloads (12%).
- Unfavourable treatment was also experienced by some women returning to work after childbirth. Almost one quarter felt that their opportunities for promotion had decreased on returning to work while over one fifth of women felt that their opportunities for training had decreased.