What are the Mental Health Effects of Abortion?

woman sitting on couch

Best friends talk about everything, right? So, why is it that women don’t usually talk about their abortions? Is it too private, painful, or do they think no one is interested?

Some women say they are afraid they’ll be harassed about their abortion decision. Other women say it was a very personal decision they don’t want to discuss, or they’re embarrassed about their decision.

Research says one out of every four women will experience abortion before they are 45. That’s a lot of women not talking about their experiences.

Mental Health Effects of Abortion

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), women with a history of abortion do experience “elevated rates of mental illness” compared to women who haven’t had an abortion. Some women, particularly those who’ve struggled with mental illness before their abortion, are at the greatest risk for experiencing mental health problems afterward.

The Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) concluded “it is clear that some women do experience sadness, grief, and feelings of loss following termination of a pregnancy, and some experience clinically significant disorders, including depression and anxiety.”

Some symptoms of Post Abortion Stress

Women experience many different emotions after an abortion, and often feel relieved immediately afterwards. While this is not a full list, these are a few of the symptoms of Post Abortion Stress.

  • Generalized Guilt
  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Denial and Repression
  • Psychological Numbing
  • Depression
  • Regret and Remorse
  • Flashbacks
  • Specific or generalized sense of grief and loss
  • Anger

How You Can Help

It can be difficult to work through one’s emotions after an abortion. Women may experience difficulty within hours of the abortion, and more often after many years. If you’ve experienced any of these mental health effects of abortion and need a listening ear, we’re always available. We offer individual and group after-abortion counseling, information, and resources to help you through your healing journey. Feel free to schedule an appointment today.

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