Informative Essay on Abortion and Mental Health in Women

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Abortion has adverse psychological outcomes in women. The psychology of abortion is a topic with a lot of research works, especially in the past decades. Bellieni and Bounocore in a review in 2013 concluded that any form of foetal loss traumatizes women, whether they occur by abortion, natural miscarriage, stillbirth (Bellieni and Buonocore 14). Other researchers acknowledge the risk of increased mental problems in women due to abortion, but blame it on the social values in the society. However, a few reviewers strongly believe that the two do not have any link. This research is for an in-depth understanding of the association between abortion and the risk of increased mental health issues in women. The research hypothesis is that women suffer psychological distress after abortion and their mental health may be attributed to the experience of abortion alone.

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There are quite a number of emotional distresses immediately after an abortion and in the months afterward. The various psychological emotions that women experience after an abortion include sadness, guilt, loneliness, grief, regret, regret, and doubt (Fergusson, Horwood, and Ridder 18). The above are the most common emotions. However, there are studies that show contrary reactions like satisfaction, relief, and happiness (Dykes, Slade, and Haywood 95). Dyke, Slade, and Haywood also identify that in the long run, other women exhibit cognitive disagreement when they describe previous abortions, many years later, in regards to negative emotions but believe that they made the right choice.

The study that involved the Canadian university students who participated in research establishes that there is significant grief in the years following an index abortion (Curley and Johnston 280). A third of women as well as men whose partners aborted expressed regrets concerning the decision years later. Most of the women who experience birth issues after an abortion tend to show a sense of longing for the terminated foetus. Also, the victims often refer to their loss using the terms, for instance, baby or child.

Broen and others in their research compare the psychological issues of induced abortions and miscarriages. The outcome shows that women who previously had induced abortions suffer more elevated levels of avoidance, shame, guilt, or relief than those who had natural miscarriages. Nevertheless, all the foetal loss situations indicate emotional and mental problems, whether the loss is through induced abortion, miscarriage, or abortion for the reasons of foetal anomalies (Broen, Moum, Sejersted and Ekeberg 18).

Impact of Abortion on the Relationship Between Couples

Abortion and its link to psychological risks also relate to the relationship between couples. A good relationship may assist in emotional adjustment to the situation. Many difficulties, according to qualitative studies, emanate from social disapproval, head, and heart conflicts, and loss in a romantic relationship (Fergusson, David, John and Elizabeth 24).

Impact of Abortion on Women Mental Health

The association between abortion and women’s mental health shows a link between depression and anxiety. Women who had abortions are likely to experience depression. These depressions are due to negative thoughts and the fear of the possible consequences of abortion. Some women fear that they may never again bear children, or that they may have difficulties in giving birth, and thereby be forced to deliver through caesarian delivery. These thoughts and the fact that some victims of abortion may lack funds to cater for any financial implications can result in depression. On the contrary, there is a likelihood of suffering anxiety disorders. Recent studies show that women who previously had abortions suffer mental health disarrays 30% more frequently compared to those who had never carried out an abortion. While there are some grounds on these inferences, more research should be ongoing to determine a stronger statement regarding the link between abortion and mental health disorders. The study by Bologna on the effects of abortion on college women’s mental health discusses mental effects related to abortion. Some of the effects described include decisiveness, grief, guilt, happiness, hope, loss, optimism, regret, relief, sadness, satisfaction, and shame. The study describes the post-abortion shame to be related to the idea of social stigma. The shame experienced by the women immediately after abortion is higher and tends to reduce over time. Otherwise, those who deliver their foetus have a low level of shame, usually steady over time. The shame is commonly due to the inherited social mores or stigma associated with the women who abort. Women who acknowledge the social stigma as a result of abortion tend to hide their abortion history to both friends and family, and this consequently leads to increased mental or psychological issues over time.

The post-abortion sadness in women is linked to the feeling of depression. Most women who obtain abortions tend to show grief and sadness. The same situation happens to those who miscarry due to the loss of foetus. Nevertheless, those who successfully deliver babies willingly tend to show happiness and joy.

The main aim of studying the above emotional aspects is to offer a wider spectrum of the common feelings of women who have undergone an abortion. These emotional or mental states should never be regarded as extreme psychological conditions because the research shows that they tend to change over time. The feelings are part of the usual experiences of women who obtain abortions. These people only require care and attention, especially after learning that there are extended effects of the aforementioned feelings.

The reports of the U.S Census of 2012 indicate that common cases of abortions occur among women who are between the age of 20 and 30 years. This group is majorly from the college-going women and form about 57% of abortions annually according to the U.S Bureau of statistics (Fergusson, David, John and Elizabeth 25). This huge percentage triggers a reason to study the impact of abortion on women.

Extensive debates from the researchers and scientific communities are common and the aim is to identify whether or not abortion negatively impacts the mental health of women. In this report, while some women may not immediately feel the post-abortion mental health problems, it is crucial to acknowledge that a few women do experience mental impacts including depression and anxiety among others after obtaining an abortion. Not all women, however, have this feeling or experience. The experience of the post-abortion, in this regard the mental health repercussions should never be assumed and need to be freely expressed in an academic environment.

A portion of women also develops the post-abortion traumatic disorder. Cultural factors may lead to this trauma. Studies indicate that there is a higher risk of stress and trauma after abortion which sometimes weaken but usually persist. This disorder remains high for about three years after the abortion. Stress-related issues are, however, higher at about two to three months following the abortion.

Abortion also impacts the mental health of women in subsequent pregnancies. Depression, trauma disorders, and anxiety tend to affect the women who were previously aborted and for them, pregnancy becomes a vulnerable time. Some women experience emotions and difficult thoughts regarding their previous pregnancies that ended up being aborted.

There are also other psychological complications related to abortion. Some studies show that some women who terminate their pregnancies by aborting have higher risks of mental health admissions than those who persevere with their pregnancies to term. In California, studies show a higher percentage of women in the treatment categories of neurotic, bipolar, and schizophrenia disorders to be mainly those who previously had an abortion. Some research work, however, does not find any association between the two.

Some women tend to abort to terminate unplanned pregnancies, rape, and unwanted pregnancies. Sometimes, conflicts among couples may be a reason for abortion as well as other sexual dysfunctions. Regardless of these reasons, most women grieve and stress because of their previous abortion decisions. In some instances, women tend to consider a replacement pregnancy as a measure to overcome the stress and grief of abortion.


In summary, abortion is linked with mental or psychological harm in women. There are a lot of studies that already confirm the relationship between abortion and the mental health of women. From this aspect, women should be aware of the risks involved in abortions. The nature of the effects of abortion, its complexity, social, and legal dimensions needs a lot of care on the part of both gender experts and health professionals.

Works Cited

Bellieni, Carlo V., and Giuseppe Buonocore. "Abortion and subsequent mental health: Review of the literature." Psychiatry and clinical neurosciences 67.5 (2013): 301-310.

Broen, Anne Nordal, et al. "The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study." BMC medicine 3.1 (2005): 18.

Curley, Maureen, and Celeste Johnston. "The characteristics and severity of psychological distress after abortion among university students."The journal of behavioral health services & research 40.3 (2013): 279-293.

Dykes, Kathryn, Pauline Slade, and Annette Haywood. "Long term followup of emotional experiences after the termination of pregnancy: women’s views at menopause." Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 29.1 (2011): 93-112.

Fergusson, David M., L. John Horwood, and Elizabeth M. Ridder. "Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47.1 (2006): 16-24.

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