Facebook Pixel

Negative Mental Health Consequences of Unwanted Child Birth and Restricted Abortions

By HERWriter
Rate This

Not a day goes by without hearing about a new proposed abortion-related bill or another law restricting abortions going into effect. However, an issue not brought up often is how abortion restrictions, the inability to get abortions in some cases, and unwanted childbirth can negatively affect mental health.

Unwanted pregnancy is not uncommon, and women who wait too long to get an abortion and are forced to give birth, or who are pressured to give birth to an unwanted child by laws, society or friends, spouses and family, may have to deal with mental health issues as a result.

Brenda Major, a professor of psychology at University of California Santa Barbara, said in an email that women could have mental health issues if they are forced to give birth.

“I do think that forced childbirth will have negative consequences for women, both psychologically and socially,” Major said. “I suspect that more restrictive abortion laws may increase problems women experience to the extent that such laws further stigmatize women who decide to abort a pregnancy.”

Susie Baldwin, medical director for clinical and community programs at the California Family Health Council, and a member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, said in an email that women with unintended pregnancies were shown in studies to have depression more often and to be victims of domestic violence more often than women with intended pregnancies.

Although not a lot of research has been done in the area of unwanted child birth and the effects of restricted abortion access, she said the effects of both can be detrimental to mental health.

“When considering the mental health of women who opt to terminate their pregnancies but are barred from doing so, the mental health effects are probably going to be more extreme than what we see with ‘just’ unintended pregnancies,” Baldwin said.

She said that researchers at University of California San Francisco are working on a study “that will provide more information about what happens to women who are denied abortion services.”

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have had an abortion and a forced live birth with no option for adoption (S.O. refused consent). All aspects of the abortion were manageable and had no long term negative effect on my physical and mental health. The forced pregnancy effects my mental and physical health every day, almost a decade later. Denying rights denies life to women.

March 7, 2018 - 5:49pm
EmpowHER Guest

If you follow the sources the article is based on, they're either a) private opinions b) research articles that say having an abortion and giving birth have the same outcome c) research articles that say having an abortion leads to significantly worse outcomes than giving birth.

The conclusion of the article, that "forcing women to suffer through an unwanted child birth can only lead to negative consequences to mental health and other areas of life", actually CONTRADICTS all the evidence presented in the article.

January 6, 2016 - 4:09pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.