Women Report Mental Health Harms Greatest When Abortion is Not Freely Chosen

WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — The assumption that abortions only occur when women freely want them has been overturned by a new study interviewing a national sample of 1000 women 41 to 45 years of age.

Of women with a history of abortion, only 33% described their abortions as a “wanted and consistent with my values and preferences.” All others reported that it was contrary to their values and preferences and believed their abortions had harmed their mental health. In addition, 24% said their abortions were “unwanted” or “coerced.”

In a previous study, researchers found that over 60% of women reported high to moderate levels of pressure to agree to an abortion, with only 5% of women reporting they felt little or no pressure to choose their abortions.

“These new studies confirms earlier findings pointing to an epidemic of unwanted abortions in America,” said the lead author, David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute.

Reardon believes these reports offer new common ground for a country divided over abortion.

“At the very least, no abortion should be an unwanted abortion,” said Reardon. “It is up to abortion providers to ensure that no abortion ever causes more harm than benefits to one of their patients.”

“If an abortion is not freely wanted and consistent with a woman’s own preferences and values,” said Reardon,”it is both unsafe and an exploitation of women who deserve better.”

Citing: Reardon et al. The effects of abortion decision rightness and decision type on women’s satisfaction and mental health. Cureus, 2023 May 11.

The Elliot Institute engages in research and education regarding unwanted and unsafe abortions.

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