Most Abortions Are Coerced & the Results Are Disastrous for Women’s Mental Health

Caroline Wharton - 21 Feb 2023
Guest post by Students for Life of America’s Contributing Writer Anna Reynolds

GUEST POST: A new study from the Charlotte Lozier Institute shows that more than half of post-abortive women felt pressured into the decision. The results, published in the Cureus medical journal, examined the effects and found worsening mental health when there was pressure to undergo the abortion.

The study analyzed data from a survey of 1,000 women. In the randomized online survey, researchers asked women aged 41-45 about their abortion history and their mental health. They found that 22.6% of women surveyed had undergone at least one abortion, a percentage that is consistent with estimates of the national abortion rate. Of those women who reported undergoing an abortion, 60% reported coercion from a male partner, family members, other people, or life circumstances, such as finances.

Women who were coerced into an abortion decision reported significant negative emotion related to the abortion, including intrusive thoughts and flashbacks to the abortion; feelings of sadness, grief, or loss; and significant stress answering questions about the abortion.

Because of this, the survey may underrepresent the negative emotional effects of coerced abortion. The Charlotte Lozier Institute reports that women who had undergone an abortion were four times more likely to abandon the survey when faced with additional questions than women who did not report having an abortion.

David Reardon, the lead author of the study, explained to the Daily Signal, “Even with our high participation rate, women with a history of abortion reported higher levels of stress completing the survey than other women, which is most likely why they were most likely to drop out before completing the survey.” He added, “This is why surveys about abortion will always underreport negative outcomes. It is precisely the women feeling the most negative emotions who are most likely to not want to talk about it.” 

Whether or not women want to talk about their negative experiences with abortion, the survey demonstrates how widespread the issue is. The peer-reviewed study is available in full online, and this survey is the first in a planned series examining the effects of abortion on mothers. The Charlotte Lozier Institute is the education and research arm of the organization Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

Tessa Longbons, co-author of the study, said, “Abortion does not empower women.  Quite the opposite, the abortion industry enables and gives support to those who seek to control women.  This coercion can have long-lasting mental health repercussions.”

Students for Life of America has reported on the shocking examples of celebrities pressuring partners into abortions and lashing out violently when they do not comply. As the recent study demonstrates, such coercion is not limited to celebrities but represents the sad reality that legal abortion often works to the advantage of violent abusers.

When mothers do not face coercion from a partner, they may still face direct or indirect pressure from employers, schools, or athletic organizations. Ironically, abortion has been marketed as “pro-choice” when, in fact, the experience of so many women is that abortion robs them of choices and forces them into a position in which they feel that ending the life of a preborn child is the only option they have in order to keep a job or scholarship.

As the study co-author Longbons noted, abortion in the United States is becoming more prone to coercion and abuse rather than less. She said, “Now that the FDA allows the abortion pill to be dispensed without a woman ever seeing a doctor, the abortion industry’s coercion problem may only get worse.”

The abortion industry’s is attempting to normalize “death by mail,” pushing for Chemical Abortion Pills without a doctor’s office visit, physical examination, or follow-up appointment. Prescribing deadly medicine without ensuring that a mother is not being coerced into her decision will mean more women undergo abortions they feel they have no choice in. As the recent study from the Charlotte Lozier Institute demonstrates, these are the women at greatest risk for negative mental health outcomes following an abortion.

Mothers deserve real choices, and women deserve better than abortion. Their health and well-being depend on it.

READ NEXT: SFLA Alumni Highlight: Bella Kearns, Pro-Life NICU Nurse

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