The Effects of Abortion on Women
(An obviously pro-life spin)
It has been a long debated battle between pro-choice and pro-life supporters whether
undergoing an abortion has a negative effect on women or not. There are countless articles, websites, and even movies devoted solely to this particular issue. Still it is not fully understood: Does abortion in fact have any negative effects on women, and if so, what are those effects? Many studies have been conducted in a variety of ways, all of which address different effects of abortion on women. The fact that there have been so many studies done is evidence that at least some women experience negative effects after undergoing an abortion.
A woman went through an abortion and initially felt no guilt or feelings of remorse. Three years later she became pregnant again and decided to keep the unborn baby. After the nine months had passed and she gave birth, she began to experience intense feelings of guilt. She experienced an emotional breakdown because once she realized what a miracle her current baby was, she realized what she lost when she went through with the prior abortion. She decided to sue the abortion clinic for not only failing to warn her of the possible emotional consequences of an abortion, but also that there was an increased risk of developing breast cancer. By not warning women of the possibility of negative outcomes, abortion clinics are not only denying women information that should be essential in the decision making process, but also increasing the risk that they will be sued at a later date.
If only a small percentage of women who undergo abortion actually experience emotional distress afterward, it is not correct to say that abortion does not have a negative effect on women. Many supporters of prochoice do not understand the possible harmful outcomes of abortion on women. The negative effects do not just pertain to psychological health, but physical as well. Abortion has negative effects on women and it is essential to educate women on these effects prior to an abortion.
Research has found that having an abortion before carrying a pregnancy to full term increases the risks for negative outcomes of the next pregnancy carried to full term. Henshaw points out that “… induced abortion does not protect against the risk of delivery as much as a prior birth does…having an abortion increases the risk of an adverse outcome associated with [a woman’s] first birth” (1-2). This clearly indicates that having an abortion, possibly to avoid having an unwanted child, increases the risk that something will go wrong once a woman actually does want, and chooses to deliver a child.
Prolife supporters research this topic avidly and on a regular basis. Using the studies that have been conducted as a foundation for their argument, they often attempt to get laws passed to ensure that women who plan on procuring an abortion are counseled on the possible adverse side effects. “[S]tate laws should require physicians to warn patients that an induced abortion would increase the risk of prematurity in future births” (Henshaw 2). This argument is an apparent indicator that women should in fact be informed of the possible side effects of the abortion.
Giving birth to a premature child is not only potentially life threatening to the child, and devastating to the parents, but it also costs the United States greatly in medical expenses. Rooney points out that “If the U.S. could slash its current high preterm birth rate (PTB), medical costs could be reduced” (1). According to Dr. Richard E. Behrman of the Institute of Medicine, “induced abortion [is] an ‘immutable medical risk factor associated with preterm birth’” (Rooney 1). When a medical professional states that abortion leads to an undeniable risk factor, it should be mandatory to inform women of these risks.
It has been more recently discovered that abortion can not only increase the risk of giving birth to a premature child during the next full term pregnancy, but also that it increases a women’s risk of developing breast cancer.
Abortion is an accepted risk factor for premature birth, particularly among teenagers. (24-26) Premature birth before 32 weeks gestation increases breast cancer risk. (27-30) The hormonal changes to the breasts are identical in the case of premature birth and abortion.
Many women are not warned of the possibility of developing breast cancer post-abortion. It needs to become imperative to warn women of all the possible risks before undergoing such a procedure. Perhaps discovering that an abortion puts the woman’s health at risk will dissuade her from having the abortion and allow her to consider her other options.
Abortions are an expensive procedure, and it is safe to assume that women who have access to money are more likely to undergo an abortion than those women who are not financially able. As Patrick Carroll points out “…more upper-class women develop breast cancers than do lower-class women” and he suggested “…abortions as the reason for this disparity” (Rooney 3). This evidence shows the link between the availability of money to obtain an abortion, and the risks included with the abortion. Women who are more financially capable of obtaining an abortion are also more likely to develop breast cancer because of the abortion.
Physical effects such as giving birth to a premature child and the risk of developing breast cancer are not the only risks women take when they undergo an abortion, in fact, the risks stretch far beyond. Substance abuse is not a new topic; it has been around as long as drugs and alcohol have been available. It has been a more recent discovery, however, that women who experience an abortion are more susceptible to substance abuse than women who carry a pregnancy to term. Reardon’s study on women who had undergone an abortion reported that “[t]he majority of these women specifically attributed their drug or alcohol abuse to stress related to the abortion” (1). This clearly illustrates that abortion not only causes stress in women, but that the stress leads many of them to turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to relieve it.
Adler points out that those women who undergo a procedure to induce an abortion during the second trimester of pregnancy are much more likely to experience emotional distress than the women who undergo the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy. “Women undergoing second-trimester abortions also report more emotional distress after abortion than do those terminating first-trimester pregnancies” (3). This is evidence that women become more emotionally involved as the pregnancy progresses, and that perhaps if they continued to carry the child to full term they may be pleased with the decision to not have an abortion.
It has been found that the majority of women who do in fact experience emotional distress following an abortion, were either unclear as to whether or not they wanted to have a child at that point in their life or not. Others experienced distress due to their religious beliefs.
Ambivalence about the wantedness of the pregnancy may engender a sense of loss. Conflict about the meaning of abortion and its relation to deeply held values or beliefs, perceived social stigma, or lack of support may also induce negative reactions.
Women who experienced little or no emotional stress “stated clearly before the abortion that they did not want to give birth since they prioritized work, studies and/or existing children” (Kero 1). This research is a clear indicator that women who become pregnant and have no desire to have children will most likely not suffer any emotional consequences, and that women who are unsure about the abortion are more susceptible to the experience of negative emotions post abortion. It does not however prove that the women with no emotional distress will not experience any other physical issues or complications with their next pregnancy.
With all the evidence that has been gathered through the studies that have been done, researchers have all agreed upon one thing: “[S]ome women experience negative psychological reactions postabortion” (Reardon 1). This has become an undeniable fact, rather than just an opinionated debate. While not all women will experience negative emotional feelings after having an abortion, some women will. Woman who undergo an abortion during their second trimester are more likely to experience negative emotions. This proves that as the pregnancy progresses, women tend to become more emotionally involved, and if they carried the pregnancy to term, could possibly be pleased with the decision.
It has also become an undeniable fact that an induced abortion leads to a greater risk of delivering the next wanted child prematurely. Not only are women who undergo abortions susceptible to emotional distress and giving birth to a premature child, but they are also at a greater risk for developing breast cancer. It has been shown that women who are more financially able to procure an abortion are also more likely to develop breast cancer than women who cannot afford an abortion, which shows a clear link between undergoing an abortion and developing breast cancer. Because women are not properly educated on the possible adverse outcomes of abortion, they often just see it as an easy way out of an unwanted situation and do not consider their other options. It needs to become imperative to educate women on the negative outcomes of abortion, not only to save the women from emotional distress and physical health issues, but to also give the unborn children a fair chance at life.
Adler, Nancy E., Henry P. David, Brenda N. Major, Susan H. Roth, Nancy F. Russo, and Gail E.
Wyatt. “Psychological responses after abortion.” Science 248.n4951 (April 6, 1990): 41(4). Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Bay Path College. 4 Mar. 2008
Henshaw, Stanley K., Weijin Zhou, and Jorn Olsen. “Studying the Health Effects of
Induced Abortion.” Family Planning Perspectives 32.6 (Nov 2000): 305. Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. Bay Path College. 11 Mar. 2008
Kero, A., U. Hogberg, and A. Lalos. “Wellbeing and mental growth–long-term effects of
legal abortion.” Social Science & Medicine 58.12 (June 15, 2004): 2559(11). Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Bay Path College. 4 Mar. 2008
Reardon, David C., and Philip G. Ney. “Abortion and Subsequent Substance
Abuse.” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 26.1 (Feb 2000): 61. Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Bay Path College. 4 Mar. 2008
Rooney, Brent, William Robert Johnston, and Karen Malec. “More on the adverse effects
of abortion.(Correspondence)(Letter to the editor).” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 12.4 (Winter 2007): 97(3). Health Reference Center Academic. Gale. Bay Path College. 4 Mar. 2008
Tags: Abortion, Death, Life, Miscarriage, Women
The Negative Effects of Abortion Essay
1107 Words5 Pages
According to Ronald Reagan, “I have noticed that everybody that is for abortion has been born.” This suggests that, people who want to have an abortion or support the idea of abortion, do not realise that they were given a chance to live. ‘About 182 million pregnancies that happen in developing countries, over one third are unwanted; 19% end up with induced abortion. Out of these 19%: 8% are safe and 11% are unsafe’ (Department of reproductive health and research, World Health Organisation, October 2007). For many years, abortion has been a subject of discussions amongst families, countries, continents, and organisations. Before we move further, here is a clear definition of abortion: (Chambers dictionary, 1999) ‘it is the removal of the…show more content…
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