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What happens after women get an abortion?

Today we’ll be looking into what happens after women get abortions answering questions like: Do women regret abortions? Are mental health risks higher? Are women able to achieve life goals a pregnancy would have stopped them from reaching?

I like to stay plugged into both sides of political arguments. Actually, when it comes to the content I consume, I tend to lean towards listening to conservatives like Jordan Peterson and Candace Owens because in real life- I don’t know many conservatives who feel comfortable enough to speak out about it in the circles I run in.

A recurring claim from both Peterson and Owens is the idea that women regret abortions. The claim was made so many times I began to believe it, and after looking into it I think I have a good sense of what the truth is.

Wait! Before we get to the good stuff...

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Do women regret abortions?

According to a study published in the academic Journal Social Science & Medicine, most women don’t regret having an abortion. Researchers surveyed 667 women across 21 states in the US multiple times over a five-year period, tracking each woman’s emotions around their decision to get an abortion. About 95% of women indicated they believe that going through an abortion was the right decision over the course of the study.

The study stated that mixed emotions, for example guilt mixed with relief, are common for women directly after they have an abortion, but “both positive and negative emotions declined over the first two years and plateaued thereafter, and decision rightness remained high and steady”. Additionally, The Turnaway Study, a 10 year longitudinal study run on 1000 women in America found the most common emotions felt post abortion was relief, with some feelings of guilt immediately after the abortion.

Are women more likely to suffer with mental health consequences after abortions?

Looking into this topic will give a variety of results. However a 2018 meta analysis from Cambridge University looking at literature from 1995-2009 found a positive correlation between mental health issues and abortions.

The study stated “Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion. The strongest subgroup estimates of increased risk occurred when abortion was compared with term pregnancy and when the outcomes pertained to substance use and suicidal behaviour.”

The American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) reports that the following situations can increase adverse emotional side effects after an abortion:

  • Feeling pressure from others to have an abortion

  • Aborting a pregnancy that’s wanted

  • Lack of support

  • Feelings of needing to keep the abortion a secret

  • Feeling unsure about the abortion decision

  • A history of prior abortion

  • A history of mental health problems

  • Abortion after twelve weeks

Do women achieve their life goals after abortions?

Almost half of single mothers live in poverty and one of the main arguments for abortion is it encourages social mobility.

More research on this topic needs to be explored, but a short study conducted by BMC Women’s Health found one year post abortion, most women had achieved or stayed on course with the life plans they had set out for themselves.

This is only one study, so I can’t give a sure answer on this question, but it seems as though women are better able to stick to their original life goals after having an abortion.

In summary...

Abortion is a taboo topic, and what happens after abortion is only a part of a much larger debate. I know that, but if we don’t start opening conversations, we’re never going to find better solutions. I come into every day with the lens that most people are trying their best to be good, which has allowed me to understand both sides of the argument for abortion and I sympathise with both.

Of course I have my own views on how I would vote and what I believe is the right vote when it comes to law, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand where people are coming from or that my vote equals the choice I would make personally, however, the claim that women regret abortions appears incorrect with our most current data. Giving the benefit of the doubt I will make the assumption that this misconception came about because abortion does appear to positively correlate with mental health issues like PTSD and depression.

I hope as a society we can continue to refine our knowledge in all areas of every issue so our viewpoints, wherever they may be, are a reflection of truth.

Thank you for reading! If anyone has concrete evidence refuting any data I’ve presented, do let me know and I will make corrections immediately. Please do your own research and do not take what I say as absolute truth. I’m learning every day- just like you.


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