Drawing a definitive relationship between abortion and mental health effects has long been controversial, mainly because every woman will react differently to her abortion experience.
The Mayo Clinic states, “After a medical abortion, you may have a mix of emotions, including relief, loss, sadness, or guilt.” Emotions can also change and fluctuate over time.
If you are considering abortion and wondering about your mental health, here’s what we know to be true.
1. There Is a Connection Between Abortion and Mental Health.
Abortion is a life-altering event and does have a mental health connection. It won’t be the same for every woman, but it does exist based on research results.
A New Zealand study conducted with young women concluded that abortion might be associated with an increased risk of mental health problems. These include depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors, and substance use disorders.
Another study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry concluded that women who had an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems. Nearly 10% of the incidence of problems could be attributed to abortion.
2. Some Women Are More at Risk for Negative Mental Health Impacts.
Experts agree that at least some women are more at risk for significant negative mental health impacts caused, triggered, aggravated, or complicated by their abortion experience.
Higher-risk individuals are those who have a history of mental health problems, feel pressured, have conflicting moral beliefs, or existing maternal desires.
If there isn’t sufficient attention given to moral beliefs or maternal desires before making an abortion decision, it could make it challenging to reconcile the choice with one’s self-identity.
3. You Know Yourself Better Than Anyone.
You are most familiar with your everyday thoughts and feelings.
If you’re considering abortion, you are the best predictor of how you may react emotionally. Make sure to think about how you might feel after an abortion and ask yourself difficult questions.
If you have a history of mental health issues, talking to a counselor is always wise before pursuing a significant life decision.
4. We Provide a Safe Space.
No matter where you are in your pregnancy journey, we provide a safe space for you to process your emotions and receive needed pregnancy services. We can be your sounding board and offer resources and referrals as needed.
If you have had an abortion in the past, you may find it helpful to speak confidentially with one of our After Abortion Support team members. https://www.pregnancylancaster.com/en/edu/after/
Schedule a free appointment at A Woman’s Concern in Lancaster today.
Note: Abortion studies and reporting are often obtained from other countries who are required to report more abortion data than the United States.