Women Denied Abortion Access Suffer Mental Health Problems
Women denied access to a desired abortion were more likely to have mental health difficulties than women who have had the procedure done, a new study published in the JAMA Psychiatry found.
Nine states require women to receive counseling if they decide to seek out an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute. While it’s often assumed that an abortion brings up emotional and mental effects for women, the study found this was not true.
“There’s been a long history and interest in looking at the effect of abortion on women’s mental health outcomes but a lot of the research before this study has offered some methodological shortcomings, and this study really aimed to improve on those,” M. Antonia Biggs, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the study, told CBS News.
Biggs and her team collected information on nearly 1,000 women, average age of 25, who went to seek abortions. Almost half of the women received an abortion, while a quarter of the women were denied because they had been pregnant longer than the facility’s requirements.
The 161 women denied an abortion went on to give birth, while the other 70 miscarried or had an abortion at a different facility.
The women denied an abortion reported more anxiety, lower self-esteem and lower life satisfaction than their counterparts after one week of seeking the procedure, the study said.
Within a year, the women denied abortions were able to improve their psychological well-being.
“There is no evidence to justify laws that require women seeking abortion to be forewarned about negative psychological responses,” the experts write.