Abortion providers like Planned Parenthood insist that abortion does not cause depression, substance abuse, or any kind of mental health trauma. On the Planned Parenthood website, it says the following:
Research studies indicate that emotional responses to legally induced abortion are largely positive…. Anti-family planning activists, however, circulate unfounded claims that a majority of the 29 percent of pregnant American women who choose to terminate their pregnancies (Henshaw & Van Vort, 1990) suffer severe and long-lasting emotional trauma as a result. They call this nonexistent phenomenon “post-abortion trauma” or “post-abortion syndrome.” … For most women who have had abortions, the procedure represents a maturing experience, a successful coping with a personal crisis situation .. Up to 98 percent of the women who have abortions have no regrets and would make the same choice again in similar circumstances .
While a handful of studies do show that women do not regret their abortions, these studies are usually based on interviews with women conducted mere weeks or months after their abortions, or even on the actual day of their abortions. Many women are not ready to admit the emotional issues their abortions have caused them so soon, or they may not yet have come to realize exactly how their abortions have affected them.
In fact, a survey done by Doctor David Reardon found that, of women who regretted their abortions, 70% said that there was a time when they would’ve denied the existence of any negative reactions for their abortions.
But pro-choice sources usually deny that abortion is harmful for women either physically or emotionally. So it is strange to read the words of one pro-choice counselor. Krista Jacob’s 2006 book Abortion under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice is a collection of essays by pro-choice writers. In the essay “Tiny, Golden Feet,” chemical dependency counselor Lauri Wollner says:
I worked with adult men and women who had been abusing alcohol and drugs and coping with mental illness for the majority of their lives.… One of the key reasons people continue to abuse their bodies is because of some level of self hatred. Somewhere along the line, they did something that they hate themselves for. And, whether they think their parents won’t forgive them, or their God won’t forgive them, or whatever, they continue to punish themselves and become their own biggest executioner, and they become unable to let go of whatever has been trapped. I cannot tell you how many of them had unresolved guilt, grief, and/or anger relating to their own abortion or someone close to them having an abortion. I sat with more than one man while he cried because his girlfriend had an abortion. I sat with more than one woman who could not forgive herself for having had one.
Post-abortion ministries such as Project Rachel, which offers retreats and groups for post-abortion women and men, and Silent No More, which gathers the testimonies of men and women who have suffered due to abortion, reveal how common the guilt that Wollner describes is. Many studies about abortion’s emotional aftereffects, including higher rates of suicide among post-abortion women and substance abuse, can be found here.