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Women Seeking Abortions Often Victims of Domestic Violence



June 23, 2010

DES MOINES, Iowa - A new study of women seeking abortions in Iowa has found that almost 14 percent experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual abuse in the past year. According Penny Dickey, chief operating officer for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the results show the need for targeted screening practices to address intimate partner violence.

"And then, we need to go that next step and, for those who feel unsafe in their current situation, we need to make sure we can direct them, very specifically, to the resources that can help them."

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland partnered with the University of Iowa for the research. Dickey says what they discovered stunned the researchers. Before this first-of-its-kind study, she explains, those who provide abortion services probably were not asking the right questions.

"In general, providers tend to not ask their clients those questions and women tend not to disclose information. But what we do find is that, if you ask the woman, she will tell you."

She says researchers also found that most women have left their abusive relationships before they seek abortions; and that just over eight percent of abortion clients who are in ongoing relationships screened positive for physical battering.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA