WASHINGTON – Women who have more sexual partners are more likely to get an abortion, according to research presented at an event held at the Family Research Council (FRC) on Wednesday.
In a report published this month by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) and presented at the FRC, the authors argued that the sexual revolution fuels the abortion industry.
Authored by Patrick Fagan, Ph.D. and Scott Talkington, Ph.D., the report drew from data gathered from the National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010.
Fagan, who also serves as director of MARRI, told The Christian Post that his group undertook the report in part because he believes there is presently "a need for the pro-life community to develop its own research agenda."
"We have plans if we get the money to do much more sophisticated research," said Fagan, adding that the pro-life movement often relies on other sources for its information.
Findings reported by Fagan and Talkington include 83 percent of women "who have had an abortion have cohabited at some time." "Abortion is rarest among women" from an "always-intact family," and the "percentage of women who have an abortion is higher among those separated, divorced or never married than among those currently married."
Fagan and Talkington also found that 40 to 50 percent of women who reported having 10 or more sexual partners have had an abortion versus 6 percent of women who reported having only one sexual partner. Nearly 90 percent of abortions were procured by women who reported having three or more sexual partners.
When asked by CP what sort of influence he believed this report will have on the abortion debate, Fagan responded that it might lead to recognizing a link between abortion and permissive sexual practices.
"The impact on beginning to link more deeply and more closely the outcome of abortion with the sexual practices of young people," said Fagan.
The MARRI report drew from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), a nationwide survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.
MARRI used as their sample space the female population aged 15 to 44, which represented the responses of 12,279 individuals.
In his presentation before those gathered at the FRC and watching online, Fagan acknowledged that underreporting of abortion by respondents was an issue at certain points in the data gathering.
"I don't think you're going to get away from the underreporting difficulty," said Fagan to CP regarding the challenge of underreporting, especially by younger female respondents.
"Young women who have just had an abortion, we know they are under deep guilt and feel ashamed, that's why they don't talk about it."
Fagan believed the more reliable responses on abortion came from the older female respondents, whom he felt had more time to cope emotionally with their decision and therefore were more willing to mention it.
In addition to Fagan, the other guest speaker at the FRC event was New Jersey Republican Congressman Chris Smith, who introduced legislation to make permanent federal measures banning the taxpayer funding of abortion save in the event of rape, incest, or health of the mother.
Known as HR 7 or the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," Smith's proposed legislation was given a hearing last week before the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
In his remarks, Smith spoke about his efforts to advance HR 7, as well as other efforts to make sure federal legislation like the Affordable Care Act, better known as "Obamacare," does not lead to the federal funding of abortion.
"Abortion is the antithesis of compassion," said Smith, "it is an act of violence against both children and is very hurtful of their mothers."
"Since 1973, more than 56 million children have been killed by abortion; a staggering loss of children's precious lives, a death toll that equates to the entire population of England."
"Chris Smith's leadership in the cause of life has been historic. Most Americans, regardless of their view on abortion, oppose government funding for abortion," said FRC President Tony Perkins in the opening remarks.
"The 'No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act' will make sure that the Hyde Amendment applies across the government, including fixing the abortion funding provisions in Obamacare. H.R. 7 will restore government neutrality on abortion."
According to Fagan, the report detailed on Wednesday is the first of three studies that analyze the data on abortion. The next report is scheduled to be released next week.