A new survey of 50 women seeking abortions from the Guttmacher Institute revealed that women think magic keeps them from getting pregnant. No, really. According to the study, more than half (52%) of unintended pregnancies in the United States occur among the 10.7% of women using no contraceptive method.
Yes, you read that right. More than half the 50 women who sought abortions in 2008 (within this survey) didn’t use contraception and many of them “perceived themselves to have a low likelihood of becoming pregnant” because they thought of themselves as invincible, exempt from bad things happening to them and they relied on previous luck of never getting pregnant after having unprotected sex before.
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The study details that this “magical thinking that pregnancy would somehow not happen” to many of the women from the study who were indeed pregnant, seeking abortions displays an obvious disconnect in thought process. Unprotected sex leads to the risk of pregnancy, but it’s shameful that these women don’t really see it that way.
One of the women from the study revealed, “I have it in my head that I don’t think that I can get pregnant that easily, but apparently I can. I stopped having periods [at] about [age] 15, until I was about 22, because I was running so much and I also had a lot of issues with eating disorders, so I thought my fertility wouldn’t be that great once I did get my periods back and I was wrong.” (28 years old, 1 previous pregnancy ending in abortion)
The bigger issue here is the lack of education that many of these women (20-24) possess. It’s disappointing to know that many women think that they are magically exempt from becoming pregnant because of past flukes. What’s more discouraging is that these same women ignore birth control because of their luck. The reality? Women who have unprotected sex have an 85% chance of getting pregnant within a year.
Honestly, before we judge these women with harsh standards, think about all the times where you’ve thought you were exempt from pregnancy because your boyfriend pulled out and nothing happened. Oh, that’s just me? Ok then.
What about that time you felt a pain in your side for days on end and didn’t go to the doctor because you thought the pain would just work itself out. That’s the same “magic’ thinking many of these young women have.
According to the survey, “Magical thinking regarding health issues is not limited to beliefs about conception. In addition to research about reliance on magical thinking as a mechanism for dealing with uncertainty in general.”
Check out a few more responses from some of the women from the survey:
I: Did you think it was likely that you [would] get pregnant?
R: No, I didn’t think, no, I didn’t.
I: How come?
R: Because I don’t know, I guess I just I don’t really know. That’s a good question.
(23 years old, 1 previous pregnancy ending in birth)
R:…I don’t know if it [the condom] broke, I don’t know what happened.
I:…do you have an idea of what went wrong with the condom or –?
R: I really don’t, I couldn’t tell you I wasn’t too worried about the condoms [laughs]. I figured that was his deal.
(18 years old, no previous pregnancies)
I just thought they were, like, since I was on [pills], they were like magic. If I missed it one day, it wouldn’t really matter, ya know, “I am on the pill,” and it was just so stupid, I didn’t think it all the way through, of course.
(18 years old, one previous pregnancy ending in miscarriage)
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