Women who seek abortions and are denied one are more likely to experience mental health issues than those who are able to terminate their pregnancy, a new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found.
Those who did not have access to the procedure were found to have had experienced anxiety and low-self esteem as well as a similar level of depression.
“Women who had an abortion demonstrated more positive outcomes initially compared with women who were denied an abortion,” the authors reported. “Women who were denied an abortion, in particular those who later miscarried or had an abortion elsewhere, had the most elevated levels of anxiety and lowest self-esteem and life satisfaction one week after being denied an abortion, which quickly improved and approached levels similar to those in the other groups by 6 to 12 months,” the authors wrote.
They continued: “These initial elevated levels of distress experienced by both turnaway groups may be a response to being denied an abortion, as well as other social and emotional challenges faced on discovery of unwanted pregnancy and abortion seeking.”
The study, which directly challenges anti-choice messages that abortions vastly lead to depression, is based on a series of interviews with 956 women from 30 different abortion facilities in 21 states from January 2008 to December 2010.