The Impact of Abortion on Mental Health

Abortion. Saying the word in mixed company is akin to lighting a match at a gas station. 

Abortion’s traumatic impact on a woman’s mental health has long been an argument against the procedure. Several states require in-person counseling prior to having an abortion. But, just before pro-life president Donald Trump took office, a study by researchers at University of California, San Fransisco, published in JAMA Psychiatry showed it had little effect on a woman’s psychological state.  

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The Turnaway Study observed 956 women twice a year for five years and measured six parameters of mental health: two measures of depression, two measures of anxiety, self-esteem and life satisfaction. 

The main question the study was able to successfully answer: Are there associations between having or being denied an abortion with women’s mental health and well-being? Researchers found that women who were denied abortions were more likely to experience depression and anxiety symptoms than women who had an abortion in their first trimester. 

About six months later, women who were unable to obtain an abortion reported improved mental health, to the point where it was similar to women who had the procedure. In other words, picture the two groups of women traveling two different rollercoasters of emotional stability and eventually meeting at the same endpoint. The psychological well-being of the two groups was eventually found to be equivalent.

Planned Parenthood’s federal funding has long been a subject of national debate. Tomorrow on, a woman explains why Planned Parenthood is the only reason she can mother her child.

dr. uruj kamal

dr. uruj kamal

Dr. Uruj Kamal is Chief Resident of Adult Outpatient Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center-University of Massachusetts Medical School. A Stony Brook native, she enjoys combining her knowledge of mental health with healthy living. Dr. Kamal has a special interest in outpatient adult psychiatry.