Perhaps you’ve heard some of them. If you have an abortion, you won’t be able to have children, or you will develop breast cancer or mental health problems.
Although there has been strong, evidenced based proof to the contrary, anti-abortion activists still claim that abortion threatens a woman’s ability to have future children and that she is at risk of developing breast cancer or mental illness.
Most anti-abortion activists oppose abortion for their own moral and religious reasons. Abortion foes repeatedly site research that suggests abortion can cause infection or injury which is sometimes undetectable at the time of the abortion which in turn increases a woman’s risk of pre-term and low birth weight delivery. Those studies fail to account for the fact that elements such as a history of sexually transmitted infection may be more common among women who have unintended pregnancies, and therefore may have an abortion.
The evidence from well designed, thorough studies shows no connection between abortion and future fertility. The research concludes that first-trimester abortions pose virtually no long term fertility risks, not only for low birth weight, but also for infertility, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and birth defects.
Researches have been studying for many years whether there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. In 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) met with more then 100 of the world’s leading experts on the subject of abortion and breast cancer. Following an exhaustive review of all the research, they concluded that induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk, and stated that such a conclusion met with NCI’s highest standards. The British government’s most noted experts have come to the same conclusions.
There is no right or wrong way for a woman to feel following an abortion. Feelings of relief, guilt, empowerment, sadness, guilt or joy are all common. Women experience a wide range of emotions just as they would if they carried an unintended pregnancy to full term. For most women, the greatest amount of stress occurs before having an abortion. After an abortion, most women feel a sense of relief.
Many of the negative emotions a woman feels following abortion are caused by the negative reactions of family, friends or partners because she became unintentionally pregnant in the first place.
The Royal Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynecologist and General Practitioners in the United Kingdom sponsored a major study that addressed this fundamental issue. The study followed more than 13,000 women in England over an 11 year period ending in the 1990’s. Importantly, it considered two groups: women facing an unintended pregnancy who had an abortion and women facing an unplanned pregnancy who gave birth. The study’s authors concluded that those women who had an abortion following an unintended pregnancy were not at any higher risk of subsequent mental health problems than were women whose unintended pregnancy was carried to term.
Following abortion, what is emotionally healthiest and benefits women most is support, acceptance, encouragement and an opportunity to discuss their feelings, whatever they might be, with partners, friends, family or support groups.