Actually, most women don’t have mental health issues after getting abortions

Anti-choice advocates will say anything to convince lawmakers that women don’t really want or need abortions, including that they lead to “emotional trauma.” But a new study, the largest ever conducted, concluded that abortion has no effect on a woman’s mental health overall. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of California San Francisco, followed 956 women who either had an abortion or were denied one and assessed their mental health over a five-year period.

What they found was that females are, in fact, strong as hell (at the risk of sounding cheesy as hell). The participants in the study were broken into three groups: those who had an abortion, those who were turned away and aborted elsewhere, and those who delivered the baby.

The results showed that women who have abortions aren’t at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem (the three ways researchers defined “mental health” in the study). Depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem were higher in women who were turned away from a clinic. Actually, women who were turned away and were forced to travel to terminate their pregnancy had the highest levels of depression and anxiety. Eventually, though, around the six month mark, all three groups of women’s mental health evened out.

The authors do note that one of the limitations of their research is that they looked at similar groups of women (those seeking abortion), and even though they had a solid retention rate over the course of five years, it’s possible that women with “diverse adverse mental health outcomes may have been less likely to participate and/or to be retained.”

But, they feel confident their results can be generalized and suggest that any lawmaker who tries to say abortion has a traumatic effect on women needs to get his/her head checked. That women forced to travel for an abortion had the most adverse mental health effects proves that lawmakers who want to restrict abortions have absolutely no regard for the woman or her well-being.


The fact that all three groups sort of even out around the six month mark and stay steady over five years is a sign of resiliency and resolve when it comes to choosing to have an abortion or being forced to deliver a child. Women are obviously capable of making a choice and moving on.

All the waiting periods and counseling that some states require before allowing a woman to make a choice are totally unnecessary and restrictive, but this study proves they’re also wasteful. Waiting periods and counseling only delay the inevitable.

Either way, a woman has a right to and is capable of making a choice about her body and then moving on with with her life. That’s what we’ve all been saying this whole time, now we just have some more data to prove it.