New research reveals the horrible mental effects Abortion have on Women

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that women who get abortions show no signs of increased mental health problems after having an abortion – and that in fact, it’s women who are denied an abortion that suffer more greatly.

But pro-life organizations and other researchers have responded that the study doesn’t show the whole picture, and that these findings don’t mean that women don’t regret their abortions. They also counter that similar studies involving an exorbitantly higher number of women have shown the opposite results, and that everything needs to be taken into account.

“I confess I’m not that surprised at what it uncovered, and it’s important for abortion opponents to neither instantly vilify the study nor to fear what it can tell us,” Mark Regnerus, associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin told CNA.

“A sober assessment is in order.”

The study, called the “Turnaway Study” was conducted by researchers from University of California – San Francisco and tracked 956 women from 21 states for more than five years. The women – all of whom had sought abortion – were interviewed once a week after seeking out an abortion, and then every six months for that five year period.

Antonia Biggs and Diana Greene Foster, two of the researchers who wrote the study, told CNA in a statement that in their study, women who were denied abortions had more mental health repercussions – like anxiety, lower self-esteem and less life satisfaction, in the short-term than women who had abortions. The study also found that by six months these rates of mental health consequences were similar. Both groups of women  had “similar levels of depressive symptoms over the entire five year period,” of the study the researchers commented.

“We found no evidence of increases in mental health problems after having an abortion,” they added.

Critics, however, say that the relatively short length of the study doesn’t account for women who come regret their abortion many years later, nor does it mean that a lack of depression or other mental health effects means that women don’t experience regret.

Ana-Maria Dumitru, director of Medical Students For Life, told CNA that other studies have come to opposite conclusions. Dumitru pointed to a study by Dr. D Paul Sullins of the Catholic University of America published earlier in 2016 followed more than 8,000 women for over 13 years.

“The Sullins study confirmed that even after controlling for over twenty possible variables, there’s still a clear, significant increase in the relative risk of mental health disorders for women who have abortions.” These risks, she added were compared to both live birth and miscarriage outcomes. Other studies from New Zealand and Norway also showed similar increased risks of mental health issues for women who have abortions, she added.

Regnerus helped explain some of the design of the study to CNA. He said that while abortion is not his area of study, there were some reasonable interpretations and qualifications to be made of the findings from a social sciences perspective. He said the basic design of the study was “competent,” since the researchers were able to track nearly 1,000 women over the five-year time span, and that the findings were “illuminating.”

He added that it’s reasonable to expect that women who do not see abortion as wrong would experience abortion differently. “Some, of course, may come to think differently about their abortion weeks, months, or even years later. Others seem not to,” he said.


Regnerus also noted that “no study can do it all,” and that there are some indirect effects between abortion and emotional consequences that the study could not assess. The professor also pointed out that regret and depression “are two different things,” and the study doesn’t delve into women’s regret about their abortions “and that’s fine because it’s not a study of regret.”

The professor also pointed to flaws in the study that might be overlooked by most casual readers. Regnerus noted that there was “a good deal of sample selection bias – only 32 percent of women approached actually participated, leaving us to wonder if there are differences between they and the 68 percent who didn’t.”

Furthermore, the study was unable to keep track of 42 percent of the original participants. Regnerus added that while these kinds of sample selection bias and challenges in collecting data are difficult to avoid in studies, particularly on a subject like abortion, they do introduce unknowns into the study.

Regnerus said that the study’s focus on near-term emotions such as anxiety or self-esteem “are too tangled up in the emotions of the event, the circumstances surrounding pursuing an abortion,” and said he thought it was a “leap for the authors to draw sensible conclusions” from such data.

What was more noteworthy, he commented was the study’s tracking of depression over the five year period, which remained constant. “The ability to track the direct effect of abortion on depression longer-term,” he noted, “is this study’s contribution.”

“It is unreasonable to presume that every abortion conducted in the United States – and elsewhere, for that matter – will make the woman who sought it troubled or sad over the long run,” Regnerus added.

“It does for plenty, no doubt. We hear about it. On the other hand, we hear of accounts to the contrary.”

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life said that in her experience, even in cases where there is regret and suffering, those feelings can lead to more positive states of healing.

“Abortion takes the life of one and often wounds the life of another,” Mancini told CNA. “Some women only come to discover such deep wounds after many years, sometimes decades,” she said, pointing out again that the study only covered a five-year span.

“My personal experience in working with women who regret abortion is that when a woman honestly faces the truth of what’s happened, she suffers tremendously, but this in turn is the first step to finding real and lasting hope and healing.”

By Adelaide Mena



  1. thomraff Reply

    First of all, this is social science, a “soft” science as it deals with people and not hard data. Second, these polls are ripe for confirmation bias on both sides. This issue is a personal issue involving mainly the women. A person has autonomy over his or her body. Pro-lifers overlook that PRIME principle. If anyone is against abortion, then don’t have one. (mike drop)

  2. Patrick Gannon Reply

    The author is concerned that women don’t feel guilt for sending a soul to Hell, if I interpret this article correctly. The Church insists that women should be wracked with shame, guilt and anguish for sending their completely innocent unborn child to Hell, but they don’t. The guilt trip isn’t working. What to do, what to do….
    Why is the Church against abortion? Answer: Because it sends an unbaptized soul to Hell. The Catholic catechism provides three options for the aborted, miscarried or stillborns who commit the grievous crime of dying before being baptized:
    1) The default position is that they go to Hell. The catechism says that the Church knows of no way to salvation outside of baptism in order to remove original sin. These souls are not allowed into heaven, and the only official alternative is Hell.
    2) You are allowed to believe in Limbo, invented by Augustine as a sort of suburb of Hell where these innocents are denied access to heaven, but avoid the full torments of Hell. Nevertheless, the mothers of these infant souls will never see them, whether they go to heaven or Hell. Limbo is not official doctrine, has no biblical support, and has fallen somewhat out of favor.
    3) You are allowed to hope that the Catholic god is not an evil monster who punishes complete innocents by denying them salvation. This is NOT an issue of “faith.” (Faith is pretending to know things you don’t know). This is strictly an issue of “hope” and it’s a thin hope, given the mandatory requirement for baptism.
    The problem we have here, is that if Yahweh-Jesus sends the unbaptized soul to Hell, then we are worshipping an evil god. We know what good and evil are (Gen 3:22) and punishing someone who has absolutely no ability to act on their own is an act of evil by any civilized definition. Further, we know that Yahweh-Jesus can remove this (debunked) original sin if he wants to. In 1854 it was determined that Yahweh-Jesus allowed Mary to be born without original sin, despite her parents having done that nasty sex thing, which is how original sin is said to be passed on. So we know that if he wanted to, he could let us all be born without original sin, but he prefers the convoluted Christian story for some unfathomable reason. Instead of simply forgiving original sin or eliminating it as he did for Mary, he impregnates a young gal without her consent (the original word “almah” means young girl, not virgin), in order to be born as himself, so he can sacrifice himself to himself in order to remove a condition (original sin) that he placed on us in the first place. And all the while, we know, given Mary’s story, that this original sin thing can be removed without all this rigmarole.
    Of course we also know that DNA evidence pretty thoroughly debunks the idea of a 2-person DNA bottleneck. Humans evolved from a pool of early ancestors numbering in a few tens of thousands, according to the DNA evidence – not two individuals; otherwise our DNA would look very different.
    Let’s consider the alternative, as some Protestants believe that Yahweh-Jesus could never be cruel and evil enough to deny salvation to an innocent unbaptized soul. They insist that the soul goes right to heaven. In this case, what’s the problem? We are told that our purpose here is to believe, say and do the right things in order to get from this place over to some other place, wherever it is, that Yahweh-Jesus is. That’s our whole reason to be here, and these innocent souls get to go from the starting line to the winner’s circle without having to run the race. Best of all, they don’t have to throw the salvation dice, taking the chance that they might be born to the wrong parents in the wrong country and grow up believing in the wrong god or no god, and thus spend eternity in eternal torment. No, they get to go right to heaven. That hardly seems fair. Is that perhaps why some Christians object to abortion? Jealousy? Why do they get their eternal bliss without having to go through all the pain and temptation and suffering and sin that we go through? It’s just not fair, is it? No abortions, no free ride to heaven – everyone should have to suffer, right?

    Take the intelligent, educated atheist or agnostic who is incapable of believing the right things – they know too much for their brains to allow them to do that – and thus if it turns out that the RCC is correct, they will spend eternity having their skin burned off from the outside, and constantly replenished from below in abject, screaming agony for billions and trillions of eternal years. Far better for them to have been aborted, and to be sleeping in the bosom of Jesus, right? Of course to send a mere human who lives but a handful of decades to eternal torture for any reason whatsoever, is about the most evil thing mankind has ever dreamed up. Were it to be true, it would nevertheless be far better to burn in moral superiority than bow to such an evil, extortionist god.
    Let’s look at the real issues. If the Catholics are right, then they worship an evil god. If other Christians are right, then there’s no harm done, and indeed every abortion sends a soul to heaven. What a conundrum…
    Or maybe there are no such things as gods, afterlives, souls, heavens, hells and all the rest of it, given that we have not a shred of objective evidence for any of it.

  3. CJ Reply

    In order to comment accurately on ‘mental health’, one has to have a correct standard as to what ‘mental health’ is in the first place.

    Since true mental health can only be found in right relationship to the One True God, than any standard that defines mental health as anything else, is itself promoting mental insanity.

    The current ‘psychology industry’ defines mental health using arbitrary standards based on a denial of the existence of a God.

    They start with a false premise….is it any wonder that they end up with false conclusions?! We need a return to God Our Heavenly Father as the basis of our mental health system. The current system is being defined and run by the father of lies.

  4. Paolo Cosmo Reply

    While baptism is required to enter heaven, God is not limited by his sacraments–there are ways known only to Him which can suffice; as Luisa Piccaretta stated in her diaries “……where human helps are lacking, divine helps abound..”

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