A new study published in the Winter 2017 issue of The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons confirms that many women suffer from long-term negative psychological effects of abortion. This includes regret, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, loss of quality of life, and self-destructive behaviors. The study included 987 post-abortive women who had contacted a pregnancy resource center inquiring about post-abortion services. They represent each state except for Hawaii, and range in age from 20 to 72.
The results of the study showed that 67.5 percent of respondents sought help from a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor after their abortions, compared to 13 percent who had sought help prior to their abortions. In addition, 51 percent reported prescription drug use after their abortion while only 6.6 percent used prescription drugs prior to their abortion.
58.3 percent of the women said they had their abortions to make other people happy, and 78.3 percent said that their decision to abort was aided by pressure from others. 49.2 percent said they believed the preborn child was a human being at the time of the abortion and 33.2 percent felt an emotional connection to their preborn child. Pressure to abort is a risk factor for post-abortion syndrome.
The researchers noted that “Women generally did not speak of empowerment, the ability to control their reproductive destinies, liberation from abusive partners, the need for abortion in order to be competitive in the work place, etc. To the contrary, in response to the inquiry regarding any positives that emerged, many women (nearly 32%) expressed no personal benefits of the experience.”
When asked about the negative results of their abortions, women stated that they felt deep feelings of loss, a decrease in their quality of life, lower self-esteem, and a decrease in their ability to connect with others. Regret, shame, guilt, depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior were all common experiences for these women. 49 of the women went so far as to say that they lost the desire to live at some point following their abortions.
The information gathered in this study reinforces the findings of previous studies that have shown the reality of post-abortion trauma, which includes an increased risk of depression, thoughts of suicide, and suicide.