The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion
- Abortion is not seen by women who elect it as a preferred, or desired, form of contraception (Henshaw & Silverman, 1988).
- Studies have indicated that while 70 percent of women used no form of birth control before their first abortion, only 9 percent failed to use a contraceptive method after their abortion (Henshaw & Van Vort, 1990).
- Baltimore teenagers who chose an abortion were less likely to become pregnant in the following two years than those who had carried their pregnancies to term or who had not been pregnant. They were also slightly more likely to use contraception (Zabin et al., 1989).
- 70 percent of the subjects were continuing in the pre-abortion relationship; 5 percent had established new relationships; and 20 percent had no sex partner
- 45 percent described their feelings toward their partners as unchanged; 39 percent felt closer to their partners; and 16 percent felt less close to their partners or described varying feelings
- 46 percent felt the quality of the relationship was unchanged; 16 percent felt the relationship had improved; and 10 percent felt the relationship had deteriorated
- 98 percent of partnered women had resumed sexual intercourse
- In her doctoral dissertation, "The Psycho-Social Aspects of Stress Following Abortion," Anne Catherine Speckhard chronicled how "abortion functions as a stressor" (Speckhard, 1985). However, she drew her conclusions from a subject pool of 30 women who "had high-stress abortion experiences" (Speckhard, 1985). As a result, in unpublished correspondence, her doctoral advisor clarified that Speckhard's "findings apply only to the 30 women who volunteered to participate in her study and to absolutely no one else" (Boss, 1986). In fact, there is little evidence to support the notion that abortion will lead to severe psychological sequelae among the general population of women. The American Psychological Association assembled an expert panel to review the evidence of psychological risks of abortion. This panel concluded "the weight of the evidence from scientific studies indicates that legal abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in the first trimester does not pose a psychological hazard for most women (Beckman, 1998).
- In his survey of women who had abortions, David Reardon found that 94 percent of his respondents experienced negative psychological effects (Reardon, 1987). However, he used a biased subject pool, drawing only from members of an anti-choice group called Women Exploited by Abortion (WEBA).
- To demonstrate that adolescents suffer greater psychological consequences after abortion than adults, Wanda Franz and David Reardon examine data from "a survey of organizations [such as WEBA] serving as support groups for women who have had negative reactions to abortion" (Franz & Reardon, 1992). They conclude by making generalizations about the effects of abortion on all adolescents, even though they derive their data from a non-representative, highly biased subject pool. In fact, a recent study of young women found that there is no evidence that abortion poses a threat to adolescents psychological well-being (Pope, 2001).
- In an unpublished but widely circulated paper, Terry Selby limits her discussion of "post-abortion trauma" to "a population of women who have presented themselves in a general mental health practice with a variety of presenting psychological and psycho-social issues" (Selby, 1984).
- In 1987, a white paper was presented to former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop describing the "problem" of PAS. In the paper, the writers admit, "the psychological risks of abortion are based mainly upon studies which have used small, uncontrolled and non-representative samples" and "cannot be predictive of national estimates" (Rue et al., 1987).
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