More than 95% of women
in the United States who have had an abortion,
report that doing so was the right decision for them.
The finding is from a new study conducted by researchers at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UC San Francisco's School of Medicine.
The study tracked as many as 670 women from different social backgrounds in the US for three years following their abortions.
The elements that made an abortion decision easier for a woman included being at school or on low wages, and the man involved in the pregnancy was not part of the decision-making process.
Stigma Still a Huge IssueThe study questions some of America's most onerous abortion restrictions that are premised on the concept that women are likely to regret terminating their pregnancies.
Of the 5% who regret their abortions, one of the major reasons for their regret was not the procedure itself but the stigma surrounding an abortion.
The participants were asked to rate from 1 to 4 on how much they would be looked down upon by people in their communities if they came to know they had sought an abortion. Most of the women who are unhappy with their abortions reported higher figures in the analysis.
In most of the American states, women are legally bound to undergo counseling before a legally accepted abortion. In some of those states, it is mandatory for the counselors to inform the women about the mental health issues associated with the abortion, despite the absence of scientific evidence establishing such consequences.
Dr. Corinne Rocca, lead author of the study, and epidemiologist, said that we have little data about how women feel after an abortion. However, legislative decisions have been made based on the concept that women have negative emotions about it, she added.
"There's a perception in the public, and in the general discourse about abortion, that abortion is somehow emotionally harmful to women. Or that we need to protect women from the abortions that they choose to have. These results really question common belief that having a later abortion is emotionally harmful," Dr. Rocca said.
The researchers suggest that stigma around abortion should be reduced to help women experiencing psychological stress related to the procedure, rather than encouraging it with mandatory, medically unsupported counseling.
The researchers are of the opinion that we should let the women make decisions about their own bodies and do not try to establish a link between mental health and abortion since it has no clinical basis.
The study titled 'Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States' was published in PLOS One.
Reference:Rocca CH, Kimport K, Roberts SCM, Gould H, Neuhaus J, Foster DG (2015) Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0128832. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128832
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