What Are the Mental Health Effects of Abortion?

The mental health effects of abortion will vary based on each woman. Every woman and situation is unique. 

However, studies have shown that at least some women experience adverse mental health effects triggered by abortion. We’ll share more details on the findings and risk factors below.

The Mental Health Effects

A review conducted by The British Journal of Psychiatry looked at findings from 22 studies. These studies featured 877,181 participants, with 163,831 having experienced an abortion.

They determined that women who had an abortion were at an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was attributable to abortion.

While the specific mental health problems will depend on each woman, this study reviewed depression, anxiety, suicidal behavior, substance use/abuse, social phobias, and more.

Risk Factors for Mental Health Effects

You know yourself better than anyone and can best predict how you might feel after an abortion.

Even so, researchers have identified some risk factors for women who could face negative mental health effects caused, triggered, aggravated, or complicated by their abortion experience.

These include having a prior history of mental health issues, feeling pressured into abortion, or choosing abortion with insufficient attention to moral beliefs or maternal desires. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering Abortion

The above risks highlight the importance of asking yourself hard questions. Give attention to your emotions and feel certain before making any pregnancy decisions. 

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Am I being pressured? If so, who is pressuring me?
  • Do I have any conflicting beliefs?
  • Do I have any existing maternal desires?
  • What is my mental health history? 
  • How would I react after an abortion?
  • Am I comfortable with abortion being a part of my story?

Pregnancy Support and Information

If you find out you’re pregnant or you think you might be, we’re here to help. 

While you process your feelings, we can listen to you and provide information, resources, and services to support you during this time. 

Schedule a free and confidential appointment today.


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