Who Is Most at Risk?
people seem to come through an abortion unchanged. Others struggle for
years with feelings of grief, guilt, shame, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger,
or depression. Still others have problems with nightmares, eating disorders,
broken or abusive relationships, substance abuse, and even suicide.
It is possible for any woman to unexpectedly have a bad emotional reaction
to an abortion. But researchers have identified several factors that predict
which women are most likely to suffer the most severe reactions.
The best-established risk factors include: feeling pressured to have
an abortion; strong maternal tendencies; a desired pregnancy; feelings
of attachment to the unborn child; a history of prior psychological illness
or emotional instability; lack of support from her parents or her male
partner; adolescence; prior beliefs that abortion is immoral; a history
of prior abortion(s); or abortion in the second or third trimester.
A woman who has one or more of these factors is likely to have strong
negative reactions to an abortion. The best estimates indicate that at
least four out of every five women undergoing abortion today fall into
one or more of these high-risk categories. How many of these women will
actually have post-abortion emotional problems is still unknown.
For a more complete list of known risk factors, plus a breakdown of
the percentages of women seeking abortion who fall within many of these
categories, and citations to the medical literature documenting these risk
factors, visit our web site at www.afterabortion.org and follow the link
to the Hope&Healing version of this article.
Click here for a more complete outline
and discussion of known risk factors