A 2019 study published in the Swiss medical journal Medicina found that one in seven women who have abortions are aborting babies they wanted to keep — and are suffering psychological damage because of it. These women are largely ignored by pro-abortion media and researchers who seem to see them as mythical figures. Abortion advocates refuse to admit these women exist because their existence undermines the entire idea that abortion is about “choice.”
Dr. Donald Paul Sullins looked at the psychological outcomes for women after the abortions of their ‘wanted’ children. Using data from 3,935 women from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), he found that one out of every five women who had gone through with an abortion said that they had wanted to keep their babies. However, those around them — their partners, parents, bosses, etc. — didn’t want them to have the babies. Additional research supports these findings. A 2012 review by the pro-life Elliott Institute found that up to 60 percent of women who have abortions “feel pressured to do so by other persons.” A 2017 study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons found that nearly 74 percent of women who had abortions said they were pressured to do so.
Through his research dedicated to these women, Sullins discovered that by age 28, the risk of depression, anxiety, and even serious thoughts of suicide, were nearly four times higher for women who aborted a “wanted” child instead of an “unwanted” child, versus those women who had delivered their babies. These women were also at an increased risk of developing substance abuse problems.
“Clearly, the abortions of children in wanted pregnancies are much more disturbing for women, and their births much happier, than is the case with unwanted pregnancies,” Sullins wrote in a piece for Public Discourse, the journal of the Witherspoon Institute. He added that in follow-up surveys, post-abortive women said that they felt uncertain or rushed into having an abortion by their abortion providers, and nearly 70 percent said they received little or no counseling.
Abortion proponents have long argued that abortion liberates women. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If a large percentage of women are undergoing unwanted abortions and as a result suffering psychological harm, abortion is obviously not healthy for women, and certainly not empowering. There are countless studies showing how abortion harms women psychologically, but Sullins says there are none that prove that abortion helps women psychologically.
“The declarations of ‘no harm’ fail even to consider the fact that the idea of a ‘therapeutic abortion’ to improve a woman’s mental health – which is the premise of the Roe/Doe decisions in the U.S., and the justification for legal abortion in most Western countries – has no basis in evidence,” wrote Sullins. Research does show, he says, that childbirth benefits women’s mental health. His study found that the risk of emotional and psychological distress was 29 percent lower up to 13 years after the birth of one or more wanted children and even 12 percent lower after the birth of a child from an unwanted pregnancy.
“The full psychological toll of an abortion, therefore,” explained Sullins, “must be measured not just by the absolute pain a woman may (or may not) feel, but also by the opportunity cost of missing the psychological benefit – the joy, growth, and even struggle – of the child she did not have.”
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