A story in Monday's editions incorrectly reported that one-fifth of all babies conceived in 1973 were unwanted at the time of conception. The story should have said that interviews with mothers conducted in 1973 indicated that one-fifth of all their children were unwanted at conception.
One fifth of all births conceived in late 1973 were unwanted at the time of conception, according to a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics.
The center, part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare's Public Health Services Administration, found that older women, black women and those with lower education and income levels tended to have more unwanted pregnancies than others.
The survey conducted personal 70-minute interviews with a representative sample of 9,797 mothers between the ages of 15 and 44 who were either married, previously married of had children of their own living with them. The interviews focused on marital and pregnancy histories, use of contraception and tae planning of each pregnancy along with use and awareness of family planning and maternity services, and on intentions regarding future pregnancies.
The results indicated that while four out of five babies were wanted at the time of conception, the rest - or 13.9 million babies - would not have been born if only "wanted" pregnancies had been carried to term. The actualy number of births in the period studied was 68.2 million.
"It is incorrect to conclude that 'unwanted births' are the same as 'unwanted children,' for many unplanned or undesired pregnancies result in children who are cherished," the study noted.
The report, part of HEW's National Survey of Family Growth, restricted its figured to pregnancies that resulted in at least one live birth. Those that ended in miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion were excluded.
Results showed that one in every four births to black mothers was unwanted, compared to one in every 10 orn to white mothers. Women below the poverty level in family income reported that one in every three births was unwanted, compares to one six born to mothers with incomes 50 per cent or more above poverty lines.
Predictable, the more children a mother already had, the more often she reported subsequently pregnancies as unwanted. Unmarried mothers wanted half the pregnancies they experienced; women with three children did not want one out of ten and women with six did not one out of four.
The study found no difference among women in and out of the labor force or among women of different geographical regions of the Unites States. Jewish women, however, reported that only 6 per cent of their pregnancies were unwanted, compare to 11 per cent or better for other religious groups.