Planned Parenthood’s website states that unwanted childbearing and lack of abortion access can have several negative emotional and psychological effects on women.
“Mothers with unwanted or unintended pregnancies and births are substantially more depressed and less happy than mothers without unwanted or unintended pregnancies and births,” according to the website. “Possible mental health consequences of unwanted childbearing also include less shared leisure time with children and more physical punishment, such as spanking.”
Overall, relationships between mothers and the unwanted children and any wanted children in the family can be of lower quality, according to the website.
Although some argue that abortion itself has negative mental health effects, Planned Parenthood and research suggests that when women are denied abortions and forced to give birth, the consequences are more severe.
“The mental health of women faced with unwanted pregnancy is at greater risk when they are compelled to deliver than when they are allowed to choose abortion,” according to Planned Parenthood’s website. “According to one study, 34 percent of women who were denied abortions reported one to three years later that the child was a burden that they frequently resented.”
Childbirth can have worse mental health consequences even than an abortion, according to a 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“The relative risk of a psychiatric contact did not differ significantly after abortion as compared with before abortion, but did increase after childbirth as compared with before childbirth,” according to the study.
A press release on a study in 2006 does state that “adolescent girls who abort unintended pregnancies are five times more likely to seek subsequent help for psychological and emotional problems compared to their peers who carry ‘unwanted pregnancies’ to term,” after controlling for variables like prior mental health issues.