“In the meantime, I would hypothesize that forced motherhood is linked with negative mental health outcomes including depression, anxiety, and increased risk for suicide,” Baldwin said. “I would expect women who are denied abortion care to experience sleep disturbances, tearfulness, hopelessness, and an inability to concentrate on their daily work or household tasks. Their concern about their ability to care for the children they already have, or to continue with their job, educational, or caregiving responsibilities, may leave them wracked with worry and fear. We know from our own recent history that women who are faced with an unwanted pregnancy sometimes feel desperate and go to extremes to change their situation, even placing themselves in jeopardy of illness or death.”
Each woman is an individual, and different life circumstances can lead to different mental health reactions, in addition to an unwanted pregnancy, unwanted childbirth or the refusal of an abortion. She said if women are forced to have children, they need extra help along the way.
“I hate the thought of any woman being forced to have a child she does not want,” Baldwin said. “If as a society we are going to force women to be mothers, we'd better provide them with all the tools they need, including universal access to health care, healthy affordable foods, safe green places to play, education, jobs and child care.”
Nancy Russo, a psychology professor at Arizona State University, and Henry David of the Transnational Family Research Institute stated in an article on www.prochoiceforum.org.uk that “both unintended and unwanted childbearing can have negative health, social and psychological consequences.”
Besides effects on the women who are forced to have unwanted children, the children also suffer.
“As adults they were more likely to engage in criminal behavior, be on welfare and receive psychiatric services,” the article stated, referring to unwanted children. “Another [study] found that children who were unintended by their mothers had lower self-esteem than their intended peers 23 years later.”