In a new study, more than 600 women who had abortions were followed over a three-year period to determine if they would later regret their decision to terminate their pregnancies. The authors of the study found that an “overwhelming majority” of women – 95 percent – didn’t regret their abortions and there was no evidence of the “post-abortion trauma syndrome” touted by anti-abortion activists.
The study, titled “Decision Rightness and Emotional Response to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study,” was published in the science journal PLOS One.
Think Progress reports that researchers examined both women who underwent first-trimester abortions and women who had late-term abortions. Between the two groups, the emotions of the women and their opinions on whether they made the right choice were pretty much the same. There was not a significant difference in emotions between the two groups of women.
Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), a think tank based in San Francisco, was behind the new study. ANSIRH conducts research on women’s experiences in the attempt to obtain abortion care.
The findings from this study related to the emotions women feel about abortion are part of the group’s “Turnaway Study,” which follows 1,000 women from 21 different states who sought abortion.
According to ANSIRH, this study is the “first U.S. study to follow women obtaining abortions and women denied abortions over time.”
The women included in the study were a diverse group in regard to race, education, and employment, TIME reports. Forty percent of the women cited “financial considerations” as a reason for an abortion, while 36 percent claimed it was “not the right time.” Twenty-six percent of the women found the decision easy, while 53 percent found it to be a difficult decision.
The study results offer a statistical stance that women who have abortions don’t always suffer emotionally, as anti-abortion activists claim. The study avoids generalities, making a distinct difference between women who have “lingering emotions” after an abortion and those who feel remorse or regret, two responses pro-lifers tend to lump together into one category.
While experiencing lingering feelings of regret in the short-term are a normal part of the decision making process, “our results of declining emotional intensity find steady or improving levels of self-esteem life satisfaction, stress, social support, stress, substance use, and symptoms of depression and anxiety over time post-abortion,” the study reads.
Certainly, experiencing feelings of guilt or regret in the short-term after an abortion is not a mental health problem; in fact, such emotions are a normal part of making a life decision that many women in this study found to be difficult. Our results of declining emotional intensity… [find] steady or improving levels of self-esteem, life satisfaction, stress, social support, stress, substance use, and symptoms of depression and anxiety over time post-abortion.
In an unrelated study, it was discovered that women who are epileptic are far more likely to die during pregnancy.