The Ban on Abortion and the Toll it Takes on Women’s Mental Health

The Ban on Abortion and the Toll it Takes on Women’s Mental Health

In the US, the Supreme Court is looking for ways to invalidate the 1970 law that made abortions legal. This would translate into allowing each state to decide on its own whether to allow or ban the procedure.

As this subject has divided the country, surveys conducted among American people show that most of them support the right to get an abortion. However, should the 1970s ruling be overturned, it is estimated that nearly half of the US states will limit or ban abortion altogether.

In this context, the issue of mental health in the case of abortion bans comes into attention. A study performed within the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) program, at the University of California San Francisco, tried to emphasize the effects of the ban on abortions. Thus, it was revealed that women who couldn’t get an abortion were facing more short-term psychological difficulties, than those who underwent the procedure, who also had more long-lasting psychological issues.

The study began in 2008 and lasted until 2010, being performed in collaboration with 30 abortion clinics around the US. The research team followed two groups of women. The first group was represented by women who had an abortion, while the second group included women who could not access the procedure. Both groups were studied for a period of five years, during which researchers analyzed how the women felt, how their mental health and their life, in general, evolved.

According to the official website of the study, known as the Turnaway study, women who are denied abortion are:

More likely to experience serious complications from the end of pregnancy including eclampsia and death.

– More likely to stay tethered to abusive partners.

– More likely to suffer anxiety and loss of self-esteem in the short term after being denied abortion.

– Less likely to have aspirational life plans for the coming year.

– More likely to experience poor physical health for years after the pregnancy, including chronic pain and gestational hypertension.

– The study also finds that being denied abortion has serious implications for the children born of unwanted pregnancy, as well as for the existing children in the family.


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