i read your entry called "i was blind" and it reminded me of so many women i have counseled. it's not just about abortion, of course; it can also apply to an abusive situation. so many women would never consider abortion if it were not for their children. your patient was worried about how her partner treated the older child who was not his. often there is unspoken worry of getting trapped with a man who mistreats a child, but also that he could change his mind about that one, that he could be unable to cope if there were three children in the home, etc.
i have seen so many times that women have an abortion not for themselves but for the children they already have. they tell me that they never even thought about abortion with previous pregnancies, but they fear that they will not be able to manage financially, emotionally, and might somehow become less the kind of mother they want to be if they continue THIS pregnancy. and often, that is how they begin to see that abortion could be for the best in their situation. they could never make a decision just because it would be best for them. they remind sometimes of the women who are in an abusive relationship and for years cannot get the courage to leave. but then when they see what effect the abuse is having on the child, they realize that they HAVE to go, whether it's that the son is beginning to mimic the dad or that the daughter's image of herself is clearly being influenced.
one difference, though, is that the abused woman can often find support when she leaves, whether it's family, the women at the shelter, or friends. women who choose abortion in order to somehow make a better life for the children she already has often cannot get the support they need. for example, in the past example, the woman's mother said something like "we don't have abortions. we find ways to deal". i just think it makes it that much harder to heal when there's no one you can tell who will just zoom in and say "i'm here, i'm with you, i know you thought this through and you're making the best choice." that is what i wish were different. i wish every woman could count on getting some support when she makes the decision to have an abortion. there is so much honor in their choices. oh, that we could all respect that!