Go to any abortion clinic being protested or any crisis pregnancy center and you are likely to hear that abortion causes depression. A common anti-abortion refrain is “You will get Post Abortion Syndrome if you don’t have your baby!!” Yet numerous studies have proven this claim to be false; including one commissioned by Former President Regan whose intent was to prove that PAS does exist. What studies ARE showing is that the opposite seems to be true. That having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term rather than being able to have an abortion when desired is what is actually detrimental to a woman’s mental health.
A study done on teenage girls who had pregnancy tests done at two Baltimore clinics showed that the girls who chose to have abortions were MORE likely to graduate from high school on time than girls in similar socioeconomic situations who either carried their pregnancies to term or who weren’t pregnant at all. They also showed no higher levels of stress as compared to the other girls, both at the time of the pregnancy/abortion and two years later.
In a different study, researchers found that 34% of women who were denied abortions one to three years earlier reported that the child was a burden who they sometimes resented. A study in Sweden showed that 24% of women denied an abortion 7 years prior to the study, still had not been able to adjust emotionally to being forced to bear a pregnancy to term and another 53% were able to adjust only with difficulty. Only 23% were able to be described as well adjusted.
While the impact of a first-trimester abortion on the mental health of a woman is generally found to be minimal, an unwanted pregnancy ending in adoption can actually be quite traumatic to the women. In one study it was reported that 95% of women who gave their child up for adoption felt grief and remorse after signing their consent forms and 2/3’s of them continued to feel that way five-15 years later.
When it comes to adoption, thanks to the extensive background checks needed to adopt a child; it can generally be assumed that the child was given to a loving family who took care of his or hers mental and physical well-being. Unfortunately, children born from unintended pregnancies whose birth mothers were obligated to keep them do not fare as well. Children born from unintended pregnancies have socialization problems, mental health issues, and lower self-esteem then peers born in wanted pregnancies.
This trend seems to apply to women who wanted abortions but were unable to obtain them. It is clear that many women with unintended pregnancies end up extremely happy and excited about becoming mothers, but clearly forcing women who don’t feel that way to carry a pregnancy is just a bit cruel.