'Woman' endured a long and difficult struggle before being allowed to determine the fate of her own body. First and foremost, Church and State attempt(ed) to intervene in questions of fertility. The State needs soldiers, workers and taxpayers. The Church wants souls, donors and dependents.
The reasons to undergo an abortion are many.
In past centuries, it was largely poor economic conditions that compelled families to limit their number of offspring, in order to provide adequately for the rest of the family. In other cases, women were forced by violence or relationships of dependency into predicaments that disallowed them from carrying pregnanies to term, or making it highly undesirable to do so.
Those who could not come up with the necessary finances or find a doctor willing to run the risk of the forbidden procedure, resorted to self-help: They attempted to force miscarriages using knitting needles, splinters of wood, herbal poisons, or by throwing themselves down staircases.
If all attempts to terminate pregnancy failed, women often saw no other way out than to kill their newborn babies, or place them in an orphanage.