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 study revealed that
the women who had abortions after the first trimester
were no more likely to regret the
procedure than those who aborted early in their pregnancies.
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
Still a Huge Issue
The study questions some
of America's most onerous abortion restrictions
that are premised on the concept that women are likely to regret terminating
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
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.
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.
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.