The mental cost of being denied an abortion

“Grief and feeling uninformed,” says Robin Atkins, a licensed mental health consultant who heads the mental health division of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. fully consistent with my clients who reported having an abortion. in an email.

Among women who had an abortion, an analysis of Turnaway data published in 2020 found that five years after an abortion, 84% had predominantly positive or no emotion about the decision. abortion, while 6% expressed mostly negative emotions.

The decision to have an abortion can be emotionally taxing, regardless of whether someone decides to do it or not.

An analysis of the Turnaway data published in 2020, led by M. Antonia Biggs, an associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco., found that most people who consider abortion feel some sort of stigma – they feel people in their community or people they are close to would look down on them if they knew they had sought an abortion – and this stigma is linked to psychological distress years later.

Another study by Dr. Biggs, also published in 2020, surveyed 784 people seeking abortions at 4 facilities in 3 US states. Women who experience logistical problems, like taking the time to seek care, schedule an appointment or travel – as well as those who feel compelled to wait to have an abortion or tell others about their pregnancy – are more likely to experience symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

Having reproductive autonomy “is critically important in protecting someone’s mental health and well-being,” says Dr. Biggs.

Experts say the more women are denied abortions, the greater some of these obstacles become.

In 2017, Catherine Sullivan was 17 weeks pregnant when she learned that her baby was missing an X chromosome, the result of a rare genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome.

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