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Some 8% of pregnant women in Japan who had an abortion in October and November last year are believed to have decided to end their pregnancy due to reasons linked to the coronavirus pandemic, a health ministry study group found Tuesday.

Many of the women cited financial reasons, such as a drop in their partner’s incomes, according to a national survey by the study group.

The study group analyzed the reasons behind approximately 2,000 women’s decision to terminate their pregnancy, which were obtained by doctors and other medical personnel at 178 medical institutions that performed abortions between Oct. 15 and Nov. 14.

According to the survey results, of the 1,965 pregnant women who had an abortion, 152, or 7.7%, said their decisions were affected by the spread of COVID-19.

Of the 152 women, the largest number, 46, were in the 25-29 age group, followed by 35 age 20 to 24 and 30 age 30 to 34.

When the 152 women were asked to give up to three reasons for choosing an abortion, 87 cited their partner’s income decline or job loss, 74 cited their own income drop or unemployment, and 42 said they were afraid of contracting the coronavirus during their pregnancy.

No cases of abortion linked to pregnancies arising from domestic violence were reported, despite heightened risks due to the government’s stay-at-home requests amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study group said the 152 women “could have chosen to continue with their pregnancy if they had the economic resources.”

“Since the coronavirus tends to have a greater impact on people with lower incomes, it is necessary to take steps to support these women, such as improving consulting systems and providing financial assistance,” it said.

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