Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Parental investment decisions in human beings, including infanticide, have usually been considered in relation to the postnatal survival probabilities of their children. A number of factors which influence parental ability and willingness to invest in offspring have been identified from these studies. Here we argue that at least some of the same factors which influence investment decisions postpartum also affect the decision to terminate a current pregnancy through voluntary abortion. We show that both female age and marital status influence the probability of abortion, with the key variable being the likelihood of future marriage. Thus, abortion procedures extend a woman's ability to manage her reproduction into the prenatal period.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Publication Date





2355 - 2358