Abortion and mental health are not as connected as we have been led to believe in the past. As it turns out women who are denied abortions are more likely to suffer from psychological symptoms than those who have an abortion. A study that was conducted by JAMA Psychiatry claims that women denied abortions reported symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Researchers working on the project spoke with more than 900 women in more than 20 states over 5 years. All of these women had either had an abortion or had been denied one. All of the women were interviewed one week after the abortion and there was a follow up for the next five years that was conducted every six months. The researchers had decided to focus on stress and anxiety as symptom because advocacy groups and law makers claim that this is what women experience after receiving an abortion.
There was another study done at the University of California that showed women who chose to have an abortion were more certain of the decision even when the procedure was completed. The studies were done while there funding to Planned Parenthood has been cut and abortion clinics across the country have been forced to close their doors. Both abortion and antiabortion legislation is being challenged all across the country. There have been more than 200 laws enacted by states to restrict access to abortion.
The abortion debate has been a part of American politics since Roe vs Wade and the past election has been no exception. President-elect Donald Trump had promised during his campaign that he would appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices with the hopes of overturning Roe vs Wade. Here is Donald Trump making that campaign promise.
In other countries where abortion is readily accessible such as Canada, where healthcare laws are mandated by the provinces, there are no mandatory counseling required. Most European countries, where abortion was first legalized also do no require counseling prior to abortion services. Most of these countries include mental health care and abortion services as part of their universal health care plans.
There are very few issues more divisive in this country than the abortion debate. It comes up in every election debate, Presidents are elected based on their stance on abortion. Despite the fact that abortion has been legal in the country for years, several states have done everything they could to restrict a woman’s access to abortion services. No matter which side of the abortion you come down on there is still grief after the abortion. Why is abortion so grievous? Here are some of the reasons.
Common feelings a woman experiences after abortion
After an abortion most women report that what they feel is relief, however that feeling of relief is rarely permanent. Every situation in which a woman chooses to have an abortion is unique. Immediately after the feeling of relief often comes the feeling of deep sadness. On the one hand a woman is relieved that the ordeal is over with, on the other side of that is the deep sadness even for women who are prochoice. Experiencing these feelings at the same time can lead to very deep confusion.
What is the impact of an abortion
Despite abortion being legal there is still a very huge stigma attached to having an abortion. Most women don’t tell anyone that they have terminated their pregnancy, and that includes the father.
Discussing your feelings or talking about the situation with friends is almost impossible because of huge emotional responses that are attached to any conversation surrounding abortion. It can take years before a woman comes to terms with the situation, most are never given the opportunity to grieve. Once the procedure is over with it is implied that your feelings should be over with too and that simply isn’t the case.
Not being able to grieve
Women choose to have an abortion for a variety of reasons, and not all of them are simple cases of an unwanted pregnancy. In either case a woman is left without the ability to grieve openly, nor can they have their grief validated. They experience loss but are still denied the ability to grieve. Denying your grief can lead to depression, and anger. Women don’t often connect their anger or depression to their unprocessed grief.
Many woman often decide to numb the pain of anger and depression with drugs and alcohol. This exacerbates the feelings of depression and leads to addiction. Abortion, regardless where you fall in the debate is it still a grievous event.