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Emotional And Psychological Effects Of Abortion On American Women

Close friends experience on abortion

A few months ago my close friend and his girlfriend conceived a baby on total accident, not knowing until the four weeks later. Both my friend and his girlfriend went through some emotional reactions. His girlfriend for example was very down on herself for becoming pregnant. She explained she was too young to care for a child, still going full time to school. But the bottom line was she was not mature enough and not financially stable to bare the child and care for it once she gave birth. My friend on the other hand was totally different. At first, he had the same feelings as his girlfriend. He isolated himself from the outside world, staying to himself, only telling his twin brother and myself about the news that his girlfriend was carrying his child. Soon after, he began thinking, what if there wasn't a second chance for both of them to have a child together. He didn't want to rid himself of the only chance to have a child. Emotions flared and at the end he wanted the baby. But after consulting both his and her parents, both decided it would be best to have an abortion, even though both parties wanted the child. My friend said sitting at the clinic where the abortion was taking place was probably the hardest three hours he ever had to endure. He watched women walk in and out of the clinic and noted, "they herd them in like cattle, one in the front door, and another out the back." He was disgusted on how clinics actually tend to their patients, being there was no remorse for killing a baby someone has carried for over a month period. He sat in his car, pondering the thoughts of him never having a child again. He felt guilt and anger towards himself for placing himself in the situation he was currently in. My friend was debating on moving to Boston to help his girlfriend conclude her school work, and get away from the pressures he dealt with from his family. After the procedure was completed, they both returned home. They sat and talked for the rest of the night, discussing what had just taken place. Both agreed that what they did was in the best interests for themselves, as well as the child's. In the end, it takes a tremendous amount of will power to even think of having an abortion, and I acknowledged and supported my friends until the end. (Anecdote: Plan B)


Emotional And Psycholgical Effects Of Abortion On American Women

This article supports five articles that show the impact of abortion on women as a whole in terms of psychological and emotion effects. According to the American Pregnancy Association article, it says: “Emotional and psychological effects are more common than the potential physical side effects and they can range from mild regret to more serious complications like depression” (Possible Emotional Side Effects: American Pregnancy Association 1). There are studies that explain the positive side and negative side of women who had an abortion versus those that did not. The articles differentiate the aftereffects of abortion. One article says that after an abortion, women will have a stressor situation which includes the start of a substance abuse or an eating disorder (Emotional After Effects of Having an Abortion: The Abortion Debate Continues Between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Views 2). All the five articles exclaimed that women report relief after an abortion. Possible emotional side effects of abortion include the following such as: regret, anger, feeling guilty, shame, loneliness or apart from other people, lack of self-esteem, sleepless nights, dilemmas with relationships, suicidal ideation, consuming disorders, melancholy, and being anxious. Overall, there is no such thing as post abortion syndrome which according to the APA or the American Psychological Association that the research done on women's psychological responses to abortion can be quite grotesque or an enigma (National Abortion Federation: The Post-Abortion Syndrome Myth 1). I chose five initial articles because that is what I could come up with that dealt with the subject matter of emotional and psychological effects of abortion on American women. Abortion in my opinion seems very wrong because you are taking the life of an innocent human being into the wrong hands. Why kill a human that might grow up to someone great, right?
Besides the fact or truth of the matter about all this is that you might get an abortion but take it as a mistake when later down the road it would most likely become a regret on your part. It is best to think through this situation twice before coming to terms on a hasty decision.

Many studies have been done on what are the causes and effects of abortion on women.(Vignette: Kayla and Mark: A Distrought Couple) “Upon following up on an abortion, cervical damage causes long term complications. The nine most common "major" complications are infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and end toxic shock. In addition, premature births, complications of labor, and abnormal development of the placenta, all of which can result from latent abortion morbidity, are leading causes of handicaps among newborns” (After Effects of Abortion - David C. Reardon 1-2). The psychological effects of abortion are: temporary relief emotions which have been referred to emotional “paralysis” or post-abortion numbness. Studies were done to see how women felt within the first few weeks after their abortion and most of them expressed downcast emotions. The reports results said that between forty to sixty percent of the women conveyed negative expressions. In another study of five hundred aborted women, fifty percent said they were experiencing repressed feelings and ten percent were categorized as having "serious psychiatric complications." In one five year study done in two Canadian provinces discovered twenty-five percent of the women went to psychiatrists as opposed to three percent of the control group (After Effects of Abortion - David C. Reardon 2). More than three hundred and seventy-five studies have displayed several women, typically between ten and twenty percent, having negative reactions shortly after an abortion. Other studies have found a correlation consisting of links on abortions plus bulimia, binge drinking, or even anorexia. A humongous amount of research done shows that women will experience low levels of post abortion expressions if and only if she can go towards to those who give comfort and support (Emotional After Effects of Having an Abortion: The Abortion Debate Continues Between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Views 2-3). In some women, they have sexual dysfunction, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, grief, as well as resentment A large percent of women in the studies reported that they felt a cloud of relief after their abortion.

Abortion can be a coping positive mechanism if you think about it. Having an abortion is like taking a step towards maturity. {Anecdote: "You Wreck Me Baby"} Almost one hundred percent of women recommend having an abortion under the same circumstances because they would not be regretful about it. Slightly over seventy percent of the women have a longing to desire to have children in the near future. There is no proof on whether abortion women could be less compassionate or supportive parents to their children. One should be aware that women who have had one abortion in the past do not have any adverse psychological effects. Instead, they have a higher respect for themselves, an increase of feelings toward being able and praiseworthy of anything, and possibly a small percent of feelings on failures unlike the women who never had an abortion before or those that had repetitive abortions in the past. There is one study that was done through a progression of two years that concluded that psychological effects of abortion confirmed that most women do not experience psychological problems or regrets two years after their abortion (The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion 1). Some women would be regretful for a small amount of time, but they usually get over with it and move on to a brighter and better tomorrow.

Overall, studies have been done on women who had abortion (s) (Vignette: "Abortion, Ethics, and Politics") in terms of what they got out of their experience. Many women replied that they felt relief or satisfaction with the decision that they undertook. For some, they were mostly sad or angry with the decision that they made when it came to doing or considering an abortion. The downside is that studies found that women were expressing repressed feelings on the subject matter of abortion. Perhaps for others, the abortion felt like a positive coping mechanism because it was about maturity. For the most part depending on what your decision on abortion is, it is best to think it over or else you would have an emotional scar for life. Alas, abortion is something that is to be or not to be.

Keywords: stressor, post abortion syndrome, suicidal ideation


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References

After Effects of Abortion - David C. Reardon.. (n.d.). Abortion Facts - Information on abortion

you can use. Retrieved February 21, 2011, from http://www.abortionfacts.com/reardon/after_effects_of_abortion.asp.



Emotional After Effects of Having an Abortion: The Abortion Debate Continues Between Pro-
Life and Pro-Choice Views. (n.d.). Suite101.com: Online Magazine and Writers' Network. Retrieved February 21, 2011, from
http://www.suite101.com/content/emotional-after-effects-of-having-an-abortion-a203574.


National Abortion Federation: The Post-Abortion Syndrome Myth. (n.d.). National Abortion
Federation (NAF). Retrieved February 21, 2011, from
http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/myths/post_abortion_syndrome.html.


Possible Emotional Side Effects: American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Promoting
Pregnancy Wellness: American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved February 21, 2011, from
http://www.americanpregnancy.org/unplannedpregnancy/abortionemotionaleffects.html.


The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion. (n.d.). Planned Parenthood. Retrieved February 21,
2011, from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/emoteffectsabort01-07%28spotrevised05-25-07%29.pdf.


Weldon, Cheryl. (Photographer). (2010). Baby in a person's right hand [Photograph], Retrieved March 3, 2011, from: http://www.suite101.com/content/emotional-after-effects-of-having-an-abortion-a203574.


[Untitled photograph of a black and white baby in a person's hands]. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from: http://www.bible.ca/s-Abortion.htm.


[Untitled photograph of abortion being a personal decision and not a debate]. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from: http://merrimackhonors2014.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html.


[Untitled photograph of a woman saying abortion is up to her and her body]. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from: http://tothewire.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/cavemans-response-to-fox-news-post-by-tothewire/.


[Untitled photograph of when does life begin according to three men]. Retrieved March 8, 2011, from: http://infosouptruth.blogspot.com/2010/10/abortion-right-or-wrong.html.

By: Steve Surma and Angeline Isaac


However, many people argue that having an abortion is primarily based on what the future outcome will be. Likewise, women in particular are naturally emotional creatures; therefore, they will have feelings about terminating their child. What is meant by saying “having feelings” can be directed in a positive or negative aspect. According to a national study conducted in 2008, there is no evidence that induced abortion causes mental effects, such as depression, in young women (Do Depression and Low Self-Esteem Follow Abortion Among Adolescents? Evidence from a National Study). More or so, in several cases like this author’s friend and even my close cousin’s experience, negative thoughts are caused due to the shame of having an abortion. Yet, the author and numerous people suppose that women are going to follow a mature path after undergoing an abortion, cannot be held true. Maturity cannot be based on an abortion, nor can motherhood. But abortion can have benefits to your life in the long run. According to a recent study conducted by David Fergusson, Joseph Boden and L.J. Horwood, the end result of a woman who had an abortion performed before the age of 21 had sixty percent of a better outcome than women who did not. Six out of ten women had significantly better outcomes after abortion when measuring education, income, welfare dependence, and domestic violence (Abortion among Young Women and Subsequent Life Outcomes).
In a particular study, demographics and socioeconomic characteristics did not modify the results of abortion and its outcomes (Do Depression and Low Self-Esteem Follow Abortion Among Adolescents? Evidence from a National Study). Keep in mind, the analysis of low self-esteem after induced abortion can be interpreted by the support of the woman. In Sweden, a study of young women showed mixed emotions, that of regret or relief, but it was all up to the family and partner’s influence and social norms (An Illusion of Power: Qualitative Perspectives On Abortion Decision-Making Among Teenage Women In Sweden). Although demographics do not play a role in emotional effects, your physical surroundings can play a part in how you feel.
While socioeconomic traits do not affect one’s outcome after an abortion, money is another subject that cannot be dismissed. If one, whether a teenager or adult, does not have adequate money or savings for their child, it will affect them post birth. Abortion is not on the basis of saving money for the unfortunate; rather it is the “fix” to the void in your child and family’s support system. (Ancedote: The Positive Outcomes of Adoption)
Also, it is seemingly important to identify the reasoning behind one’s decision for “termination”. Like previously stated, a person may feel depression and anxiety, but why did they decide to have an abortion? These factors are extremely important when the subject lies in the hands of sexual abuse and/or rape. With that said, it is more likely than not for one to experience dismal thoughts from being raped whether they had an abortion or not.
Abortion seems like a horrific choice for life, but you cannot rule out the positive effects it can have on individuals. Abortion among Young Women and Subsequent Life Outcomes study shows that women who had an abortion under the age of 21 were more likely to have a college degree and attend a university. In eighty percent of women under age 21 who had an abortion, had little background differences opposed to women under 21 who never had a pregnancy. Yet, when comparing women who never were pregnant to women who had an abortion, the women who never gave birth due to abortion were more likely to be on welfare and less likely to have a full-time employment compared to those who never conceived a child.
Thereafter, the author does not specifically conclude the results of women who had a baby of an unplanned pregnancy, nor the age groups that were studied in this article. With that being said, age, relationship status and economic status are an essential part of the study determining the effects on post-abortion. Relationship status is also extremely important on the health of a woman who is pregnant. If they are young, not married, or are not supported by their sexual partner, it is more likely for them to have an abortion. With support, they may choose to have the child, or feel less remorse when terminating the baby. Partnership is the most imperative role on a child. If a child is born into a family that was resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, they are more likely to develop and conduct “elementary” problems in school between the ages of 7-9 (Abortion among Young Women and Subsequent Life Outcomes). Another severe outcome was that women who decided to reject abortion and keep the child were much more likely to have partner violence (Abortion among Young Women and Subsequent Life Outcomes). Violence is detrimental to anyone who comes in between it, and having a child in the mix can make things even more complicating.
One thing that was never noted in this article was that although you may feel low due to the abortion, you at least have the choice to remove your partner from your life permanently.
It is definitely understood by many that abortion can cause one to have negative feelings, especially ones of regret after terminating their child. Yet, it is a faulty factual assumption to say that you would have an emotional scar for the rest of your life. As you can see, there is definitely an equal standing on the positive and negative aspects of having an abortion. What this article overlooks on the factors of abortion are age, partnership status, economic standing, violence and rape. These characteristics when comparing negative and positive results are important in examining why the woman took an outwardly step in terminating the baby she conceived. The core of this article is correct on the assumption that most women will have feelings towards regret, but it overlooks the possibility that giving birth to the child could ultimately produce more negative thoughts and outcomes. It is important to keep this in mind for not only the woman, but the partner, baby and entire family.

Works Cited:
Warren, J. T., Harvey, S., & Henderson, J. T. (2010). Do Depression and Low Self-Esteem Follow Abortion Among Adolescents? Evidence from a National Study. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 42(4), 230-235. doi:10.1363/4223010

Ekstrand, M., Tydén, T., Darj, E., & Larsson, M. (2009). An Illusion of Power: Qualitative Perspectives On Abortion Decision-Making Among Teenage Women In Sweden. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health, 41(3), 173-180. doi:10.1363/4117309

Fergusson, David. Boden, Joseph. Horwood, L.J. (2007). Abortion Among Young Women And Subsequent Life Outcomes. Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health. 39(1):6–12, doi: 10.1363/3900607

By: Meghan Doherty