Rachel K. Jones and colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute in New York said the study found 63 percent of poor women experienced at least one disruptive event compared with 49 percent of the better-off women. Overall, the rate was 57 percent.
The most common reported disruptive life events were unemployment -- experienced by 20 percent of women -- separation from a partner (16 percent), falling behind on the rent or mortgage (14 percent) and moving multiple times (12 percent).
The study, scheduled to be published in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care, combined quantitative findings from a national survey of women who had obtained abortions in 2008 with qualitative data from 49 in-depth interviews with abortion patients.
The study found many abortion patients made pregnancy-related decisions while experiencing a range of difficult life circumstances. More than 40 percent of abortion patients in 2008 were poor, and of these, many had been exposed to disruptive events at a higher rate than their non-poor counterparts.
For example, 25 percent of poor abortion patients had been unemployed for at least one month, compared with 14 percent of better-off women. Additionally, a higher proportion of poor patients had separated from a partner, fallen behind on rent or mortgage, moved two or more times, or had a baby within the previous year, the study said.