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Abortion and Mental Health

A common question we are asked by women contemplating an abortion is, “What are the risks?”  While there are some risks to consider, we have found that often women are concerned about the physical risks but haven’t really considered the emotional impact of their decision.  According to the Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy, “Clinical experience shows that when fear and other emotional distress surrounding an abortion are not addressed, patients can experience heightened anxiety, intensified pain during and after the abortion, misdirected anger toward the provider, or dissatisfaction afterwards.”[1]

After abortion, some women say they initially felt relief and looked forward to their lives returning to normal.  But other women report negative emotions after their abortion that linger, unresolved.  For others, problems related to their abortion emerge months or even years later.

Scientific research shows there is an association between abortion and higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance use, traumatic symptoms, sleep disorders and other negative outcomes.[2]

The reality is there is not a one size fits all.  Some women do not experience negative mental health after abortion and some do.  Before having an abortion it’s important to think about how that decision will affect you in the long run.

Saying “yes” to any of the following factors means that a woman is at increased risk of having mental health problems after abortion:

  • Being pressured or coerced to abort
  • Have, or previously had, mental health problems before abortion
  • Feeling very uncertain or having difficulty making the decision
  • Past childhood sexual abuse or unresolved traumatic experiences
  • Lack of emotional/social support
  • Want the pregnancy/feel attached to the pregnancy
  • Believe abortion is against my values/religious beliefs
  • Feel the need to keep the abortion a secret

We Are Here For You

If you’re facing a pregnancy decision it’s important to consider these factors and whether or not you are at an increased risk.  If you are considering abortion, we’re here to help you make an informed choice. We want to make sure you have the abortion information you need and the options available to you at this point in your pregnancy.  Make an appointment today for a free pregnancy test and consultation about pregnancy and abortion. You’ll find help here. We are committed to providing support and encouragement so you can consider all of your options.  Schedule an appointment now:  https://houstonpregnancy.com/appointment/

 


[1] Grimes, D. A., Creinin, M. D., Borgatta, L., Stubblefield, P. G., Lichtenberg, S. (2011). Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy: Comprehensive Abortion Care. Germany: Wiley, 124. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444313031.ch5
[2] Reardon D. C. (2018). The abortion and mental health controversy: A comprehensive literature review of common ground agreements, disagreements, actionable recommendations, and research opportunities. SAGE open medicine6, 2050312118807624. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050312118807624
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