Although abortion clinics present abortion as a quick and easy fix to end a woman’s pregnancy, this is far from the truth. Abortion is an invasive procedure that can leave a woman physically and emotionally affected for the rest of her life. The nature and circumstances of abortion cause women’s mental health to decline in the wake of their procedures. Many women have testified feeling rushed, unseen, and alone throughout their abortion procedures. Society continues to push the narrative that abortion is normal, shaming women who experience the genuine grief, anxiety, depression, and regret that can follow an abortion. Women have reported experiencing nightmares, suicidal thoughts, guilt, sorrow, loss of dignity, deep shame, isolation, and being haunted by their choice for abortion. The effects of abortion on women’s mental health are vast, long-lasting, and undeniable.
The Effects of Abortion on Mental Health: The Circumstances
Although society often markets abortion as a fast and uncomplicated solution to a pregnancy, the reality is that for most women, abortion is a traumatic, time-sensitive decision that they often live to regret. Women who face unplanned pregnancies can experience stress, anxiety, and pressure from their peers to abort. According to research by the Elliot Institute, over half of the women said they felt pressured by others to choose abortion. This regret can cause many women to experience depression, isolation, and shame after their abortions.
Many women also claim to have moments of “what ifs” imagining their lives had they chosen life for their baby. Notably, according to the SAGE Open Med it is difficult to take an accurate survey of women negatively impacted by abortion. This adds up since women with trauma tend to deny being surveyed surrounding it. This same comprehensive review suggests that the number of women denying surveys might be linked to the number who were negatively impacted by abortion.
Women also report the effect on their mental health in motherhood because of the deep pain, guilt, and regret over their decision to abort their other child. It’s not uncommon for women to experience grief on the anniversary of their abortion, knowing what age their child might be that year. Additionally, according to the objective study by SAGE Open Med, “there is incontrovertible evidence that abortion contributes to mental health problems, both directly and indirectly.”
The Effects of Abortion on Mental Health: The Procedure
If the circumstances that push women to choose abortion do not negatively affect their mental health, the procedure can cause women to experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Operation Outcry Amici Women took testimonies from women asking them, “How has abortion affected you?” one woman replied:
“When the procedure started, I started to scream. I felt horrible & immediately, I felt the ripping & tearing of my child. I wanted to die & even now, I can feel the ripping & tearing. They never told me what was going to happen & never explained if they were going to do this or that. It was come in here, talk to me, look at this, sit by yourself & think, Give us the credit card number, lay here & good luck & goodbye.” – Shelia
Our intern at Save the Storks Alysha also describes her experience with abortion:
“To this day, I can close my eyes and see, hear, and feel everything about that operating room. I felt everything throughout the procedure. I saw my baby travel away from me through this tube device. It was possibly the most traumatic event of my life. For years I felt like I would be punished with infertility. It became my biggest fear. I couldn’t watch anything with pregnancy or babies on it. It made me feel physically sick. This continued until about two to three months after my abortion; I tried to kill myself. My already depressed mental state worsened, and I felt I had no purpose at 16.”
The Trauma of Abortion
Women who experience trauma like this often turn to alcoholism and substance abuse to cope. Many women make rushed decisions in choosing abortion, never being adequately informed by their doctors of the reality of abortion. Research done by Elliot Institute showed that 67% of women responded that they received no counseling before their abortions. Women often feel betrayed because doctors do not tell them of the overwhelming effects of abortion on their mental health. It’s important that we inform women about the lasting mental and emotional impact of abortion. So, why do abortion clinics continue to deny the effects of abortion on mental health?
Pro-Abortionists Deny the Effects of Abortion on Mental Health
According to surveys done in the last few years, only 7% of parents responded that if they went back in time they would not have children. Oppositely, research done by IFS shows that 88% of parents agreed to the statement: “having children is one of the most important things I have done.” So why does the latter seem like the unpopular opinion today?
Physical side effects that Planned Parenthood considers “normal” include bleeding for 2-6 weeks after the abortion, discharge, and painful cramps as your body recovers. According to their website, Planned Parenthood denies emotional effects besides “feelings of sadness” after the procedure. They attribute most of these feelings to the hormonal changes that occur in women after an abortion. A claim they immediately contradict by stating that your partner or parents might experience the same feelings.
This statement is made by a company that wants to promote abortion as it makes up most of its business. The detrimental effect of abortion on women’s mental health doesn’t coincide with the story of pro-abortionists’ push that abortion is an easy fix. Furthermore, this narrative is why many women report feeling pressure to pretend everything is okay afterward, pushing them deeper into isolation and depression. If the pro-abortionists allow post-abortive women to grieve, they must also admit to the dark nature of abortion.
Annie Tang Humphrey, COO of Save the Storks, describes her abortion experience:
“The decision to end the life of the baby inside of me did not liberate me. Instead, it trapped me. It haunted me. It took a chunk of joy out of my heart. Abortion is a quick procedure that scars for a lifetime. It has been over 25 years, but the pain is still there.”
Conclusion: Abortion Will Affect Your Mental Health Long-Term
The truth is there is nothing safe or easy about being part of the taking of human life. There are many women experiencing depression, grief, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide due to their choice to abort. This is why nonprofit organizations that provide post-abortion healing care are not uncommon. The post-abortion healing organization, Rachel’s Vineyard, served over 326,000 individuals in its first ten years. The hashtag #abortionhealing on TikTok, where women share the effect abortion had on them, has over 3.1 million views. When abortion continues, women continue to suffer alone.
Save the Storks Partner Program supports women’s clinics that provide post-abortion-specific counseling, allowing more women space to heal from their experience with abortion. Our mobile medical units include counselors and nurses that give women a chance to be heard and informed on the realities of abortion before it’s too late. If you want to support women in their healing process or give women the power to choose, you can donate here.