Original research article| Volume 91, ISSUE 5, P393-397, May 2015

Prevalence of rape-related pregnancy as an indication for abortion at two urban family planning clinics



      We sought to estimate the prevalence of rape-related pregnancy as an indication for abortion at two public Chicago facilities and to describe demographic and clinical correlates of women who terminated rape-related pregnancies.


      We performed a cross-sectional study of women obtaining abortion at the Center for Reproductive Health (CRH) at University of Illinois Health Sciences Center and Reproductive Health Services (RHS) at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital between August 2009 and August 2013. Gestational age limits at CRH and RHS were 23+6 and 13+6 weeks, respectively. We estimated the prevalence of rape-related pregnancy based on billing code (CRH) or data from an administrative database (RHS), and examined relationships between rape-related pregnancy and demographic and clinical variables.


      Included were 19,465 visits for abortion. The majority of patients were Black (85.6%). Prevalence of abortion for rape-related pregnancy was 1.9%, and was higher at CRH (6.9%) than RHS (1.5%). Later gestational age was associated with abortion for rape-related pregnancy (median 12 days, p<.001). Younger age and Black race were associated with abortion for rape-related pregnancy at CRH only (p<.001 for both). Chlamydia and gonorrhea infection were no more prevalent among women terminating rape-related pregnancy than among those terminating for other indications.


      Rape-related pregnancy as an indication for abortion had a low, but clinically significant prevalence at two urban Chicago family planning centers. Later gestational age was associated with abortion for rape-related pregnancy.


      Rape-related pregnancy may occur with higher prevalence among some subgroups of women seeking abortion than others. Efforts to address rape-related pregnancy in the abortion care setting are needed.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Contraception
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Black M.C.
        • Basile K.C.
        • Breiding M.J.
        • Smith S.G.
        • Walters M.L.
        • Merrick M.T.
        • et al.
        The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report.
        National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA2011
        • Holmes M.M.
        • Resnick H.S.
        • Kilpatrick D.G.
        • Best C.L.
        Rape-related pregnancy: estimates and descriptive characteristics from a national sample of women.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996; 175 ([discussion 4–5]): 320-324
      1. State policies in brief: state funding of abortion under Medicaid.
        Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY2014
        • Finer L.B.
        • Frohwirth L.F.
        • Dauphinee L.A.
        • Singh S.
        • Moore A.M.
        Reasons U.S. women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives.
        Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2005; 37: 110-118
        • Keeling J.
        • Birch L.
        • Green P.
        Pregnancy counselling clinic: a questionnaire survey of intimate partner abuse.
        J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2004; 30: 165-168
        • Truman J.
        • Langton L.
        Criminal Victimization, 2013.
        in: Programs OoJ United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DC2014
        • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
        Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2012.
        U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta2013
      2. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines.
        Sexual Assault and STDs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010
        • Kacanek D.
        • Dennis A.
        • Miller K.
        • Blanchard K.
        Medicaid funding for abortion: providers' experiences with cases involving rape, incest and life endangerment.
        Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2010; 42: 79-86
        • Dennis A.
        • Blanchard K.
        • Cordova D.
        Strategies for securing funding for abortion under the Hyde Amendment: a multistate study of abortion providers' experiences managing Medicaid.
        Am J Public Health. 2011; 101: 2124-2129
        • Dennis A.
        • Blanchard K.
        Abortion providers' experiences with Medicaid abortion coverage policies: a qualitative multistate study.
        Health Serv Res. 2013; 48: 236-252
        • Dennis A.
        • Blanchard K.
        A mystery caller evaluation of Medicaid staff responses about state coverage of abortion care.
        Womens Health Issues. 2012; 22: e143-e148
        • Pazol K.
        • Creanga A.A.
        • Burley K.D.
        • Hayes B.
        • Jamieson D.J.
        Abortion surveillance – United States, 2010.
        MMWR Surveill Summ. 2013; 62: 1-44