Abortion is often considered a physical act, something that affects a woman’s body. But what so few people talk about is the mental and emotional journey that abortion can be for many women and their partners.
Mental health can be a touchy subject because of the stigma that often surrounds it. But the reality is that according to the CDC, 50 percent of adults will be diagnosed with mental health struggles at some point in their lifetime.
And abortion plays a role for many of those who struggle mentally. According to the National Library of Medicine, “both sides (of the abortion argument) agree that abortion is consistently associated with elevated rates of mental illness compared to women without a history of abortion.”
How Has Abortion Affected Others Mentally?
According to a study by Cambridge University, “Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems.”
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry reported that there were dramatic changes in mental health in women who had an abortion. They found women who had an abortion were:
- 110% more likely to abuse alcohol
- 155% more likely to commit suicide
- 220% more likely to abuse marijuana
- 37% more likely to experience depression
Another study found that many women who have undergone an abortion have the criteria for PTSD. These symptoms include:
- Avoidance symptoms (tendency to avoid memories, thoughts, or feelings associated with the event)
- Persistent negative emotional state (constant feelings of guilt or shame)
- Detachment from others
- Self-destructive behaviors
Why Does Abortion Have a Mental Health Connection?
There are countless reasons why abortion can negatively affect someone’s emotional state.
Many women have an abortion and assume that it will be the cure that will bring their lives back to normal. But then they are disappointed because they realize that their lives are still different. The pregnancy and the abortion can’t be undone. They will always be part of their story.
Another reason women may struggle with mental health after an abortion is because perhaps they did the procedure against their own conscience, out of pressure from a parent or partner.
Or maybe the abortion went horribly wrong and left them feeling scared.
Whatever the reason, post-abortion life has turned out to be much harder than they imagined, and it has caused mental stress.
What Can You Do?
If you have already had an abortion that has created mental turmoil, you do not have to stay stuck in a prison of the mind. Here are some things you can do to find healing:
- Talk to a counselor. Letting someone else into your struggle will be freeing for you. A trained counselor will be able to point you toward helpful tools that will create healing. If you can’t afford a counselor or don’t know where to find one, please contact our clinic today. We would be happy to talk to you more about your story.
- Allow yourself all the feelings. It is ok to not be ok. You won’t heal until you walk through the layers of emotion.
- Do something that brings you joy. Decorate a cake. Paint a masterpiece. Hike a trail. Write in a journal. Sing some karaoke. Drive with the windows down. Be you again.
- Forgive. Stop holding onto the anger or blame towards yourself or others. Clenching fists won’t change the past. But letting go and allowing forgiveness can be freeing for a new tomorrow.
If you are struggling after an abortion or considering an abortion, please call us today. We can talk more about post-abortion support and connect you to other helpful resources.
NOTE: We offer accurate information about all your pregnancy options; however, we do not offer or refer for abortion services. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice