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In Canada, 20% of women who obtained an abortion between 1975 and 1993 had had at least one previous abortion. An analysis of data on 1.2 million abortions shows that the proportion of abortion patients undergoing repeat procedures increased from 9% to 29% over the 19-year period. The proportion was above average (22-28% for all years combined) among women who were in common-law marriages, those aged 25-39 and those who had previously had children. In 1993, 27 women per 1,000 who had ever had an abortion underwent another one, while 13 women per 1,000 who had never had an abortion obtained their first one; among teenagers, the repeat rate was four times the rate of first abortions (81 per 1,000 vs. 19 per 1,000). During the study period, the repeat rate rose sharply among women younger than 25 but fell among those aged 30 and older. In 1993, fewer than 2% of abortions were obtained by women who had had three or more previous procedures, suggesting that abortion is not widely used as a primary method of birth control.
(Family Planning Perspectives, 29:20-24, 1997)