Abstract of Choosing a Life for Vitae: Synthesis of Findings (2003)


This study seeks to construct a model of the psychological dynamics that affect decisions about abortion, understand the current position of the Vitae Foundation within the context of those dynamics and develop a strategy to strengthen Vitae’s position in the minds of its constituents. 


Kenny & Associates reassembled the team of analysts who have contributed to the past three major strategic projects for the Vitae Foundation. Using materials from those projects and new materials provided by the Vitae Foundation, the team conducted a meta-analysis to combine the findings from a number of studies in order to arrive at conclusions that transcend the limitations of single studies. Kenny & Associates draws secondarily on a project conducted on pregnancy and prenatal care for the State of Arkansas. 

One-on-one, in-depth interviewing was used in each study. A large sampling was not needed as the findings can be generally applied to others who are emotionally similar.  


This study concludes that women fear (and are unable to resist) the power of their sexual impulses, even though they are aware of the consequences. They believe their failure of self-control is inevitable and find it reassuring that abortion is available as an emergency means of control to “erase” their mistakes.  

When it comes to sex, women do not trust themselves to make the right choice and seek abortion as a second chance to make the “right” choice. The baby is perceived as the child of sexual desire and to surrender (again) to that sexual desire feels like a mistake. Consequently, the rebirth of self as a mother feels like a mistake as well. Women fear that without undergoing an abortion, they will be transformed by their mistakes so radically that they will be destroyed. 

The mere availability of abortion, as a choice to exercise self-control, is so appealing to women, that a dispute of its legality would be faced with great opposition from both Pro-Life and pro-choice women. Women facing unexpected pregnancies need help diminishing their guilt and fear so that they can have the courage to take on a new identity; motherhood. These women should be empowered to learn from their mistakes, take control of their lives, and feel pride in their choice of life. 

To obtain the Pro-Woman Policy Guide, the Pro-Woman Approach for Medical Professionals Guide, or to cite Vitae’s research contact our Research Team by filling out the form below.

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