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Mental Health Effects of Having an Abortion

Extensive research has shown that having an abortion does not increase a woman's risk for depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more now.

Written by

Sally Rashid

Reviewed by

Dr. B

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Abortion is a common and safe procedure performed to end a pregnancy.  It’s been around since the dawn of time and is legal in all fifty states, despite the efforts to criminalize it by some religious groups and more socially-consertative lawmakers. 

Anti-choice organizations flood the internet with false information intended to overwhelm pregnant people from making informed choices regarding their pregnancy. These organizations may pose as medical professionals online and make claims that abortion is harmful to your mental and physical health.

However, the data is clear; abortion is very safe and has no long-term impact on your mental health. Access to abortion is central to obtaining an equal society for women and studies show that 99% of women* say they “feel relief, not regret” 5 years after their abortion. 

Does Abortion Cause Mental Health Issues?

What we do know about abortion and mental health is that:

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Abortions may not cause mental health issues, but restricting access to them hurts pregnant people substantially. Abortion restrictions harm people physically too, as restricting abortion access increases the number of unsafe abortions.

How Does Abortion Affect Mental Health?

Most people report that they feel relieved after their abortion. It’s normal to experience a range of feelings and any major life event can cause stress or temporary highs and lows. Practice self-care after your treatment and reach out to safe friends and family if you need someone to talk to. We’ve also put together some resources including hotlines and textlines that are available to help you as you process your abortion. If you’re having persistent feelings of depression, anxiety, or lethargy, speak with your doctor, a mental health care provider, or someone you trust. 

Hey Jane is available 24-hours a day for patients with concerns before, during, and after abortion treatment. We also have text support  7 days a week, from 10am to 8pm EST at (405) 342-3654.

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Written by

Sally Rashid

Sally Rashid is a Registered Nurse and writer living in Detroit, Michigan. She has worked in reproductive care for a decade as a doula, nurse, and advocate for abortion access. Sally was a 2020 winner of Yes, And Laughter Lab's competitive incubation program for her work as writer and co-creator of Darling, a dark comedy about an abortion clinic at constant risk of closure. On top of writing for the beauty and healthcare industries, Sally is an all-around creative lady who loves music, making connections, and chilling with her two cats.

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