The Emotional Effects of Abortion

Did That Happen to Me?

The Emotional Effects of Abortion

1 out of 3 women will personally experience an abortion by their 45th birthday. In the U.S., there are about 1.21 million abortions each year. Yet there is very little said about the emotional impact of abortion so women who do experience negative emotional or spiritual symptoms, can be at a loss for what to do. Maybe you are wondering how you will feel if you are considering an abortion or maybe you have already had an abortion and wondering if your negative or depressed feelings are a result of the abortion.

The circumstances in your life play a large part in how you may be impacted by abortion. Often women and men pursue abortion because it seems like the solution to solve their immediate crisis. They feel like there is no other option but to abort. It doesn’t mean that you are taking this decision lightly or easily, often abortion is a final decision after a period of heartbreaking stress and turmoil.

Emotional effects of abortion can arise at different times for different women. Some women immediately feel the negative emotional impact while others don’t feel it until years later or when they become pregnant or a close family member or friend becomes pregnant. Below are FOUR reasons which often increase the likelihood of abortion having a negative impact on women and men.

1. The decision was NOT entirely yours or there was pressure from others.

Usually the decision to abort is not made on your own. Perhaps you had pressure from a boyfriend, family member, employer, or friend. If you made the decision to appease others, you may be feeling resentful, angry, or have other negative emotions.

2. You were not 100% sure of an abortion decision. You had some uncertainty.

If there were any doubts, you may be negatively impacted. Abortion is a major life decision and if you had any doubts, uncertainty, or hesitation and still had an abortion it may be causing emotional stress. You may be asking yourself “what if?” and “if only”.

3. You have values, opinions, or spiritual beliefs that go against abortion.

You may be part of a faith tradition that speaks against abortion or maybe you don’t align yourself with any religion. Regardless, each person has values and interprets the world from a spiritual perspective. Perhaps, before your abortion you said you were always “against it,” but then once you experienced an unwanted pregnancy you felt like it was your only option.

4. You have a history of affective or mental health issues.  

If you had a history of depression, anxiety, or other affective disorders, it’s more likely that you will experience negative emotional symptoms after an abortion. Abortion can also be a trigger for emotional distress.

Perhaps, one or more of these things hit close to home and seem to describe your abortion story. It may make you angry that no one warned you that you would feel as bad as you do right now or how you felt in the past. Or, perhaps you heard one of these messages: “you will be fine,” “it is a simple procedure,” “now you can move on.” Fortunately, there is help after an abortion, because maybe you are not fine, maybe it was an emotional or physically complex procedure, and maybe you haven’t been able to move on. We encourage you to seek help for your past abortion. We recommend face-to-face support as a best option, but there are more resources online and several great books. If you would like some personalized recommendations, email