Planned Parenthood on Coping After an Abortion

So many women were having emotional problems after their abortions that Planned Parenthood, which always denies that post abortion trauma is real, finally had to address the issue.

Planned Parenthood website affiliate in Illinois about coping with an abortion

“You can say or yell “stop” whenever you have disturbing thoughts… if you find yourself fantasizing too often about what the child may have been like, you should substitute another fantasy: a baby crying because you have no time to give  it.”

Quoted in Valerie Meehan “Hidden Pain: Silent No More” The American Feminist, Winter 2002 to 2003

Meehan quotes from Theresa Burke, PhD “forbidden grief, the unspoken pain of abortion” written with David Reardon

Here are the results of some studies on abortion and the emotional aftermath:

154% higher risk of suicide. Another study of more than 173,000 American women who had abortions or carried to term found that, during the eight years after the pregnancy ended, women who aborted had a 154% higher risk of suicide than women who carried to term.

DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002.

Higher suicide risks for teens. Teen girls are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion in the last six months than girls who have not had an abortion, and 2-4 times more likely to commit suicide after abortion compared to adult women

B. Garfinkel, et al., “Stress, Depression and Suicide: A Study of Adolescents in Minnesota,” Responding to High Risk Youth (University of Minnesota: Minnesota Extension Service, 1986); M. Gissler, et. al., “Suicides After Pregnancy in Finland: 1987-94: register linkage study,” British Medical Journal, 313: 1431-1434, 1996; and N. Campbell, et. al., “Abortion in Adolescence,” Adolescence, 23:813-823, 1988. See the “Teen Abortion Risks” Fact Sheet at for more information.

Five-fold higher risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Excluding women with a prior history of substance abuse, those who abort their first pregnancy are 5 times more likely to report subsequent drug and alcohol abuse vs. those who give birth.

DC Reardon, PG Ney, “Abortion and Subsequent Substance Abuse,” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 26(1):61-75, 2000.

For more studies on the mental fallout from abortions, go here.

For testimonies and stories of post-abortion women, go here. 

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About Sarah

Sarah Terzo is a freelance writer and journalist who works for Live Action. She is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians and Consistent Life.
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