A woman's reproductive value decreases over her reproductive life span and it is therefore predicted that the likelihood of termination of investment in a child decreases with increasing age. An eventual increase in termination ratio in the oldest age groups, as is often found in abortion statistics, could depend on older women on average having larger families rather than on age per se. We used data on abortions and births in Sweden during 1994 to investigate how abortion ratio is related to age and parity of women. We found that age-specific abortion ratio is U-shaped (i.e. that it is highest for the youngest and for the oldest age groups) in each parity class from zero to four children but that age-dependence breaks down in higher parity classes (5, >/=6). Thus, for each of the parity classes 0-4, the incidence of abortion decreases with age up to a point, but increases again as women approach menopause. This late increase in induced abortion ratio seems to depend on age per se. The data indicate that abortion ratio is an inverse function of fertility, and that investment in new reproduction gradually decreases as a woman approaches menopause. Assuming grandmothering as an important driving force in human life history evolution, such a pattern might indicate that the transition from behavioural investment in one's own children to one's grandchildren is a gradual process similar to the decline in ovarian function.