Psychological Effects

Psychological Effects

The medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abortion are often serious and can be lasting, particularly when the patient is young.

Medical studies demonstrate that abortion carries short and long-term physical risks, as well as psychological consequences , that are harmful to women’s health. Minors are particularly susceptible to these serious harms.

The undeniable1short-term physical risks of surgical abortion include blood clots; incomplete abortions, which occur when part of the pre-born child or other products of pregnancy are not completely removed from the uterus; infection, which includes pelvic inflammatory disease and infection caused by incomplete abortion; and injury to the cervix and other organs, which includes cervical lacerations and incompetent cervix - a condition that affects subsequent pregnancies.

Minors are even more susceptible to these risks than are older women. For example, minors are up to twice as likely to experience cervical lacerations during abortion.2 Researchers believe that smaller cervixes make it more difficult to dilate or grasp with instruments. Minors are also at greater risk for post-abortion infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and endometritis.3

The long-term risks of abortion are also serious and minors are more susceptible to them because they are less likely to take the prescribed antibiotics or follow the directives of the attending physician. “Induced abortion has been found to increase pre-term birth (before 33 weeks gestation) and early pre-term (20-30 weeks gestation) in following pregnancies.”4 As indicated previously, abortions can cause cervical lacerations. Abortion can also result “in incompetent cervix, which is a risk factor for pre-term birth.”5 It is understandable that the physical consequences of abortion on teenage girls is magnified as their bodies are not yet fully developed.

Women who have received an abortion have a greater risk of experiencing mental health problems. This is true for adults, but even more so for minors. These risks include depression, anxiety, and even suicide. One of the studies to confirm this examined a group of over 500 women from birth to age 25.7 This study, led by D.M. Fergusson, a pro-abortion researcher, found that 42 percent of young women experience major depression after abortion.8 In studying teens aged 15-18, the Fergusson group found that minors who became pregnant and carried to term had a 35.7 percent chance of experiencing major depression, but minors who aborted had an astounding 78.6 percent chance of experiencing major depression.9 These findings are significant. Especially as depression is a known risk factor for suicide.10

It is indisputable that abortion has physical and psychological risks. While a parental consent for abortion law will not prevent young women from requesting and receiving an abortion, it will ensure parents are involved in the process with their vulnerable children. Parents usually possess information essential to a physician’s exercise of his or her best medical judgment concerning the minor. In addition, and just as important, when parents are aware that their daughter has had an abortion, they are in a better position to assist with any subsequent physical and psychological care.

  1. The risks of abortion are openly acknowledged by abortion providers. See, e.g., Planned Parenthood, In-Clinic Abortion Procedures (2010), available at (last visited Dec.18, 2013).
  2. See, e.g., K.F. Schultz et al., Measures to prevent cervical injury during suction curettage abortion, Lancet 1(8335):1182 (1993); R.T. Burkman et al., Morbidity risk among young adolescents undergoing elective abortion, CONTRACEPTION 30(2):99 (1984).
  3. See, e.g., c; W. Cates, Jr., Teenagers and sexual risk-taking: The best of times and the worst of times, J. ADOLESC. HEALTH 12(2):84 (1991)
  6. Reardon DC, Jesse Cougle, Rue V, Shuping M, Coleman P, Ney P. Psychiatric admissions of low-income women following abortion and childbirth, Canadian Medical Association Journal 2003; 168(10): 1255.
  7. D.M. Fergusson et al., Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health, J. CHILD PSYCHOL. & PSYCHIAT. 41(1):16 (2006)
  8. Id.
  9. Id. at 19.
  10. J.R. Cougle et al., Depression Associated with Abortion and Childbirth: A long-Term Analysis of the NLSY Cohort, MED. SCI. MONITOR 9(4):CR162, CR 162 (2003).

This public awareness campaign is a joint effort between Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association and For more information please contact us here.

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