The Mental Cost of Being Denied an Abortion

“Grief and a feeling of not being fully informed is consistent among my clients who report having had an abortion,” said Robin Atkins, a ...


“Grief and a feeling of not being fully informed is consistent among my clients who report having had an abortion,” said Robin Atkins, a licensed mental health counselor who directs the mental health section of the American Association of Obstetricians. and pro-life gynecologists. in an email.

Among women who have abortions, analysis data from Turnaway published in 2020 found that five years after abortion, 84% had either mostly positive emotions or no emotions about their decision to have an abortion, while 6% expressed mostly negative emotions.

The decision to seek an abortion can be emotionally draining whether someone decides to have it or not.

Analysis Turnaway data published in 2020, led by M. Antonia Biggs, Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, found that most people considering abortion perceived some stigma – they felt that members of their community or loved ones would look down on them if they knew they had sought an abortion – and this stigma was associated with psychological distress years later.

Another of Dr. Biggs’ studies, also published in 2020, interviewed 784 people seeking an abortion at four facilities in three US states. Women who encountered logistical challenges, such as spending time trying to get treatment, scheduling an appointment, or traveling — as well as those who felt pressured to wait for an abortion or to talk about their pregnancy to other people – were more likely to have symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

Having reproductive autonomy “is extremely important in terms of protecting a person’s mental health and well-being,” Dr Biggs said.

According to experts, the more women are denied abortions, the more important some of these obstacles could become.

In 2017, Catherine Sullivan was 17 weeks pregnant when she learned her baby was missing an X chromosome, the result of a rare genetic condition called Turner Syndrome.

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