The Long-term Psycho-Social Effects of Abortion on Women
Abortion is public health concern worldwide. It is the procedure to end a pregnancy by removing the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus (Guttmacher Institute, 2018). Between 2010 and 2014, the number of induced abortions each year was estimated at 56 million worldwide (Guttmacher Institute, 2018). These numbers include women of reproductive age between 15 and 44. The Caribbean scored the highest annual rate of abortion in the period between 2010 and 2014, with approximately 59 per 1,000 women. South America was ranked second while Northern America and Western and Northern Europe had the lowest rates of abortions annually (Guttmacher, 2018). Guttmacher Institute establishes that women in developing countries are more likely to terminate the pregnancy. When abortion is not done according to the recommended medical procedures, it poses reproductive health risks as well as death. The practice also affects the mental health of the subjects.
In 2012, Taylor conducted a study to examine the long-term psycho-social effects of abortion on women. The research involved women of diverse ages, ethnicity, and different periods after abortion (Taylor, 2012). Women from Newham, Norwich, and Islington participated in the research. It was hypothesized that accessing information about post-abortion health issues serves to reduce the degree of psycho-social effects for some women.
The participants were recruited by CareConfidential, a charity network of 160 UK pregnancy consulting centers, which ran adverts on their websites in Islington, Norwich, and Newham (Taylor, 2012). Interviewee eligibility was a minimum of 4 years after abortion and the willingness to share personal experiences after abortion. Ten women qualified for the study.
Informed consent was obtained in print, and the respondents were assured of the anonymity of the interviews, data protection, and confidentiality. The interviews were conducted individually by Taylor, in the company of a qualified pregnancy counselor. Additionally, they were transcribed to determine recurrent words, themes, and items that would be significant (Taylor, 2012). The respondents were also encouraged to speak freely to express their emotions accurately. Those who had induced more than one abortion were asked to discuss the most significant incidence.
Among the ten women, six had aborted once; two had abortions twice, one had done the procedure four times, and 1had done it six times (Taylor, 2012). As anticipated, the results indicated that some interviewees would have made informed decisions if they had adequate information before the procedure. Participants also emphasized the significance of counseling on post-abortion (Taylor, 2012). Three women reported that they regretted the decision to abort while others, who expressed satisfaction with their choices, stressed the need for providing adequate information before an abortion and post-abortion counseling.
Assuring the respondents of the anonymity of the interviews was a helpful strategy to make them comfortable to share their experiences. Moreover, the researcher did a recommendable job performing the interviews in the presence of a qualified pregnancy counselor. This provided women with post-abortion psycho-social issues a chance to speak to a counselor. Therefore, the study was also beneficial to the participants. However, due to the small sample size, the findings cannot be applied to other populations. Nonetheless, the study makes a valuable contribution towards debates in the UK concerning the need to offer women pre-abortion counseling. Furthermore, the research has taught me that accessing adequate information concerning abortion helps women to make informed decisions, which alleviates the psycho-social effects of abortion. Moreover, the study has made me realize the importance of counseling on mental health.
Guttmacher Institute. (2018). Induced abortion worldwide: Global incidence and trends. Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved from https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-worldwide
Taylor, P. (2012). The long-term psycho-social effects of abortion on women. The New Biotechs, 18(2), 89-100. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/2050287713Z.00000000012