How Does Abortion Affect Mental Health?

Do you feel overwhelmed with your unplanned pregnancy? If you feel scared, anxious, unsure, or numb, your feelings are valid.

As you think about your options, you’ll want to consider how an abortion could affect your mental health now and in the future. So, take a deep breath and keep reading. 

How Does Abortion Affect Mental Health?

Everyone experiences abortion differently. The abortion procedures can be traumatic, thus putting women at a higher risk of mental health problems.[1] Sometimes, abortion exacerbates mental health problems you may already be experiencing. Other times, an abortion could cause new mental health problems.[2] These mental health problems could include:[3] [4] 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Substance Abuse
  • Suicidal Behaviors

If you’re having thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 immediately.  

Is the Abortion Pill Better for My Mental Health?

Both the abortion pill and the surgical abortion could increase your risk for mental health problems. One study showed that abortions later in pregnancy increase your risk of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.[5]  Any woman considering abortion should know the processes and what to expect. Call 979-695-9193 for pregnancy confirmation, a free ultrasound, and education about abortion.*

Will An Abortion Help My Depression?

Your current circumstances may lead you to believe that abortion will alleviate some of your stress. Although women sometimes report initially feeling better,[6]  they then feel numb and experience negative emotions for years later.[7] 

No study shows that abortion will improve your mental health.[1] Instead, one study suggests that women who choose abortion have a 30% increased risk of developing a mental health disorder,[1] with many women seeking mental health services afterward.[8]

Will an Unplanned Pregnancy Make My Depression Worse? 

An unplanned pregnancy can cause a lot of emotional and physical stress. However, a study shows that women who choose abortion had a higher rate of mental health problems than those who chose to carry their pregnancy to term.[1] If you’re experiencing depression currently, call 979-695-9193. We want to ensure that you have all of the resources you need before you make an informed decision. 

Will I Feel Guilt After Abortion?

No one knows exactly how you will feel after your abortion. Although abortion offers to remove the immediate stress of an unplanned pregnancy, some women face negative emotions, including guilt, for years afterward. A study shows that abortion increases the risk of depression up to eight years afterward.[9] If you have already had an abortion and need help, call 979-695-9193.

How Does Abortion Affect Relationships? 

Abortion can sometimes affect intimate relationships in dating, marriage, friendships, family, and children.[10] One study shows that abortion can lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety in future pregnancies.[11]  Women who feel pressured into having an abortion report more stress, grief, and anxiety for years after their abortion.[12]

Post-Abortion Support in 

You aren’t alone! No matter your emotions, we know that you simply need a safe place to talk about your options.[13] Call us at 979-695-9193 or schedule your appointment online today.

Please be aware that Hope Pregnancy Center does not provide or refer for abortion services. A medical professional will evaluate the necessity of an ultrasound. 

Sources

  1. Fergusson DM, Horwood LJ, Boden JM. Abortion and mental health disorders: evidence from a 30-year longitudinal study. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2008;193(6):444-451. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/abortion-and-mental-health-disorders-evidence-from-a-30year-longitudinal-study/59A90CBF3A58C58B342CBCFFBBFEBD2E  
  2. Mota, N. P., Burnett, M., & Sareen, J. (2010, April). Associations Between Abortion, Mental Disorders, and Suicidal Behaviour in a Nationally Representative Sample. American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.aaplog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Mota-et-al.pdf  
  3. Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Ridder, E. M. (2005, September 22). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. https://acamh.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01538.x  
  4. Coleman PK. Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2011;199(3):180-186. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230
  5.  Priscilla K. Coleman, Catherine T. Coyle, Vincent M. Rue, “Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms”, Journal of Pregnancy, vol. 2010, Article ID 130519, 10 pages, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1155/2010/130519.
  6. Dagg, P. (1991, May). The psychological sequelae of therapeutic abortion–denied and completed. The American Journal of Psychiatry. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2018157/  
  7. Smith Dallabrida, E. (2022, October). Study Shows Long-Term Negative Impact of Medication Abortion. Support After Abortion. https://supportafterabortion.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Study-Shows-Long-Term-Negative-Impact-of-Medication-Abortion.pdf  
  8. Studnicki, J., Longbons, T., Fisher, J., Reardon, D. C., Skop, I., Cirucci, C. A., Harrison, D. J., Craver, C., Tsulukidze, M., & Ras, Z. (2023, June 15). A Cohort Study of Mental Health Services Utilization Following a First Pregnancy Abortion or Birth. International Journal of Women’s Health. https://www.dovepress.com/a-cohort-study-of-mental-health-services-utilization-following-a-first-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-IJWH  
  9. Cougle JR, Reardon DC, Coleman PK. Depression associated with abortion and childbirth: a long-term analysis of the NLSY cohort. Med Sci Monit. 2003 Apr;9(4):CR105-12. PMID: 12709667.
  10. Coleman, P. K., Rue, V. M., & Spence, M. (2006, December 31). Intrapersonal Processes and Post-Abortion Relationship Challenges: A Review and Consolidation of Relevant Literature. The Internet Journal of Mental Health. https://ispub.com/IJMH/4/2/3804  
  11. Huang, Z., Hao, J., Su, P., Huang, K., Xing, X., Cheng, D., Xiao, L., Xu, Y., Zhu, X., & Tao, F. T. (2012). The impact of prior abortion on anxiety and depression symptoms during a subsequent pregnancy: data from a population-based cohort study in China. Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology. https://psychiatry-psychopharmacology.com/en/the-impact-of-prior-abortion-on-anxiety-and-depression-symptoms-during-a-subsequent-pregnancy-data-from-a-population-based-cohort-study-in-china-131424  
  12. Reardon DC, Longbons T. Effects of Pressure to Abort on Women’s Emotional Responses and Mental Health. Cureus. Published online January 31, 2023. doi:10.7759/cureus.34456
  13. Major, B., & Gramzow, R. (1999, October). Abortion as stigma: Cognitive and emotional implications of concealment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10531670/  
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