The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons recently published a study in their Winter 2017 issue examining the emotional and psychological affects that having an abortion has on the mother. The purpose of the study was to examine how women adjust to life after having an abortion and specifically asked participants two open-ended questions:
1) What are the most significant positives if any that have come from your decision to abort?
2) What are the most significant negatives if any that have come from your decision to abort?
The survey included 987 respondents. According to the survey:
13% reported having visited a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor prior to the first pregnancy resulting in an abortion, compared to 67.5% who sought such professional services after their first abortion.
Only 6.6% of respondents reported using prescription drugs for psychological health prior to the first pregnancy that ended in abortion, compared with 51% who reported prescription drug use after the first abortion.
This data suggests that the women respondents in the survey were psychologically healthy prior to having an abortion. Over 58% of the women in the survey reported that they had an abortion to make other people happy. Nearly 74% of the women indicated that they received at the very least subtle pressure from others to abort. Roughly 28% revealed they had an abortion for fear of losing their partner at the time. 66% of the women said they knew in their hearts that they were making the wrong decision, while over 67% of the women said that it was the hardest decision of their lives. Over 33% of the women also stated that they felt an emotional connection to their preborn child prior to having an abortion.
In response to the question, ““What are the most significant positives, if any, that have come from your decision to abort?”” women answered with the following:
None – 31.6%
No response – 22%
Deepened spiritual life – 17.5% (finding healing, forgiveness, peace)
Committed to crisis pregnancy work – 13.3%
Sharing about their abortion experience. – 8.9%
Becoming a Christian – 7.5%
Active in the pro life movement – 6.4%
In response to the question, ““What are the most significant negatives, if any, that have come from your decision to abort?”” women answered with the following:
Took a life – 23.7%
No response – 20.2%
Depression – 14.4%
Guilt-remorse – 14%
Self-hatred – 12.4%
Shame – 10.9%
Substance abuse – 9%
Regret – 9.3%
Self-destructive behaviors – 7.7%
Low self-esteem – 7.6%
Anxiety/fear – 7.1%
Suicidal – 6.2%
Future efforts to implement woman-centered individual counseling should incorporate the well-known risk factors described above. However, doing so will not necessarily guarantee that women will have the personal strength and the social and material resources to follow their desires. As a society that values freedom and choice, we have a moral obligation to provide the social structures necessary to make choosing motherhood as easy as choosing abortion. In the U.S. we have clearly failed in this regard…