There are many myths about the effect of abortion on women’s emotional and physical health. Here are some myth busters.
If you’re pregnant, for options and additional information
Safe, legal abortion, performed by qualified staff, is very rarely associated with any future risk to fertility.
Most women return to their pre-pregnancy fertility immediately following the abortion procedure. A small number of women have a delay in the return of normal menstrual cycles. We recommend use of contraception as soon as women resume sexual activity after the abortion. For more information on contraceptives, click here
Abortion does not cause breast cancer.
Around the world, reproductive health and anti-cancer organisations have rejected any association between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer. This rejection is based on scientific evidence and investigation.
The majority of women cope well after an abortion.
Unplanned pregnancy does cause emotional distress for some women however, research shows that for most women abortion causes no long lasting psychological consequences. An Australian study, We Women Decide: women’s experience of seeking abortion in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania 1985-1992, (Drs Ryan, Ripper and Buttfield) found that women who made their own decision about abortion were likely to find it a health enhancing experience.
Studies do however identify risk factors that can increase the likelihood of a woman experiencing longer lasting emotional distress. They are:
- Women who did not make their own decision;
- Women who have been, or felt coerced into having an abortion;
- Women who hold strong cultural or religious beliefs that abortion is wrong.
A consistent opinion has emerged within the medical profession and extensive searches of health and social science databases reveals that the psychological effects of abortion are benign or positive and that serious adverse effects are rare.
No articles found any evidence to support the term, nor condition, ‘Post Abortion Syndrome’.
Women do not use abortion as a form of contraception.
Abortion is a safe method of birth control and is used by women when their use of contraception fails or when available methods have not met their needs.
The majority of women experiencing unplanned pregnancy are using some form of contraception, however we know that:
- Sexual behaviour is not always consensual or predictable
- All modern methods of contraception have some associated risks
- Finding suitable contraception is very difficult for some women
- No form of contraception is 100% effective
Things women consider in making a decision about an unplanned pregnancy.
Women choose abortion to postpone childbearing or space their children. This decision reflects the value and seriousness women place on mothering. Some of the considerations they take into account in making their decision include:
- their relationship status
- the state of their relationship
- the support they have from their partner, family and friends
- the children they already have
- their financial resources
- their employment situation
- their education and career prospects
- whether they have stable housing
- their age
- their general health
- drug and alcohol use before and during pregnancy
- whether the pregnancy is the result of rape or childhood sexual abuse
- their cultural and/or religious background
It is not women’s role/obligation to produce/supply babies for other women/men who wish to pursue adoption.
For many women the choice to have an abortion is because they do not want to be pregnant, or continue to be pregnant, or to give birth or to relinquish a baby.
It is not women’s role/obligation to produce/supply babies for other women/men who wish to pursue adoption. Women interviewed in the We Women Decide study who had adopted their baby invariably spoke of the pain and ongoing feelings about this decision and contrasted it with their lack of regret following abortion.
Remember the choice to have an abortion is ONLY the choice of the pregnant person, nobody else. Make the right choice for you, not the right choice for anyone around you.