I’m going to have an abortion.
Julie* stared blankly as she spoke the thoughts in her head.
There was a sadness in her voice.
"I’m in college and my boyfriend doesn’t want me to have the baby. To be honest, I don’t want the shame of being pregnant and not married. My whole life is ahead of me, so this is really my only choice."
Is Abortion The Only Choice?
We see so many women like Julie at A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic. When a woman learns she is facing an unplanned pregnancy, she is often overwhelmed with regret, anger, guilt, and shame. At that moment, many women believe they only have one choice. Abortion.
At our clinic, we empower women by walking them through all of their options so they can make an informed decision. Abortion isn’t the only option. If abortion is the choice a woman is going to make, we want her to be prepared for both the physical and emotional side effects she may experience.
Preparing for the Possible Emotional Risks
"I had an abortion when I was 23 years old. It was the only choice that was given to me at the time. Afterward, I shoved down everything I was feeling and locked it all away for many years. I had no idea how much pain it would cause me, even all these years later after becoming a mother."
The experience of an unplanned pregnancy already causes many unwanted emotions. Some women believe they will alleviate those emotions and experience relief once they terminate the pregnancy. However, the opposite is often true.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the emotional and psychological effects following an abortion are more common than the physical side effects, so we’ll cover them first.
Some women may experience the following common emotional and psychological complications after an abortion. The intensity or duration of these concerns varies depending on the person.
One important factor related to a woman’s vulnerability to negative emotional or psychological effects has to do with her belief about the baby she is carrying. A woman who believes she is carrying a life inside of her — a baby and not just a fetus — is more likely to experience greater emotional side effects.
However, anyone who has had an abortion can experience unexpected emotional or psychological side effects afterward. It’s very common for women to report that their abortion procedure affected them more than they expected.
If you’re considering an abortion, discuss these risks with a trained professional who can address your questions and concerns. The emotional side effects of having an abortion are just as real as physical side effects.
Preparing for the Physical Risks
"I was married to a man with a controlling mother. When she found out I was pregnant, she pressured me to get an abortion. She thought we were too young and immature to have children and assured me I could have babies after we experienced more life. I’ll never forget the sharp pains I felt as my baby was taken from me. I ended up with a painful infection and one problem after another. We never ended up having more babies because of all of the medical complications after my abortion."
Abortion risks are difficult to fully outline because post-abortive women rarely talk about terminating their pregnancy. Post-abortive silence makes it difficult for other women to understand the long term impact of abortion. If more women would openly share their experiences, we would have an even broader understanding of the long-term physical risks of abortion over the lifetime of a woman.
The list below outlines the potential risks we do know about.
Blood clots in the uterus
Injury to the bowel or bladder
Cut or torn cervix
Puncture or tear in the uterine wall
Rh Immune Globulin Therapy: Genetic material found on the surface of a woman’s red blood cells are known as the Rh Factor.
Scar tissue on the uterine wall
Possible side effects and abortion risks of D&E abortion:
Inability to get pregnant due to infection or complication from an operation.
Possible hysterectomy as a result of complication or injury
Incomplete removal of the unborn child, placenta, or contents of the uterus requiring an additional operation
Getting Pregnant Again
Women should know that complications associated with an abortion, or having multiple abortions, may potentially affect their ability to have children in the future.
Some research suggests a possible link between abortion and an increased risk of the following in future pregnancies:
Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy
Low birth weight
Placenta problems, such as retained placenta
An incompetent cervix causing premature birth or pregnancy loss.
A weakened or damaged cervix
Before You Decide
If you’re considering an abortion because of your circumstances, know that you can change your situation. Many women think abortion is their only choice, due to their circumstances or the pressure they feel from others. There are other options.
The decision to have an abortion should not be taken lightly.
Before you have an abortion, take time to reflect on what you’re feeling and why you are feeling that pregnancy termination is the best choice for you.
A Woman’s Place Medical Clinic has multiple convenient locations available, and we are here to help you regardless of your decision.
*The names are fictitious to protect the confidentiality of our clients.