Abortion cases on the rise among women over 30

The number of women between the ages of 30 and 40 who have terminated their pregnancy rose from 3669 to 4166 over the past decade. Keystone

In Switzerland, the number of teenage abortions has been falling for years but women over 30 are increasingly terminating their pregnancy, according to the Sunday edition of Tages-Anzeiger.

This content was published on June 24, 2018 minutes

Since 2005, the abortion rate among teenagers has almost halved, reports the Zurich-based newspaper, citing the Federal Statistical Office.

This trend contradicts the widespread belief that “children have children“; or that abortions are typically requested by young, uneducated, low-income women who do not have a partner.

All other age groups – with one significant exception – have documented a slight decline in the rate of abortion.

The number of women between the ages of 30 and 40 who have terminated their pregnancy rose from 3669 to 4166 over the past decade.

Doctor Theres Blöchlinger from the Zurich Women's Outpatient Clinic confirmed the trend towards abortions at an older age.

She told the German-language newspaper that one of the reasons for this updaward trend may be that women are becoming pregnant later.

"Training and studies take longer, for many it is too early to start a family at 30," notes Blöchlinger.

Prenatal diagnostics are improving the detection of malformations, a particularly important consideration for older women, and leading to abortion.

Married women account for one third of abortions at the University Hospital of Bern. 

Silke Johann, head of the Centre for Sexual Health at the University Hospital, says their decision is not driven by economic status or education.

“The woman who becomes pregnant from a one-night stand and aborts is the exception,” the newspaper quotes her as saying. "Women from all social classes can decide to abort - from the doctor to the cleaning assistant.

Blöchlinge has observed another common profile: women who (re)become pregnant after a divorce or a long relationship. 

They start dating, use technology and apps like Tinder to meet others, and dive into a second kind of adolescence.

“They live out their sexuality in a self-determined way,” says Blöchlinger.

 In many cases, these women are already mothers, so they are making an informed decision to abort.

"They are no longer as optimistic and hopeful as at the age of 20, and their life experience has taught them that children can be a financial burden,” Blöchlinger says. 

"They know what they would have to sacrifice in terms of personal and professional freedom. Or they wish for more children, but only later."

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