Adolescents feel “guilt, shame, and fear of disapproval” after abortion

From a 2004 study that did a group interview with post-abortive adolescents:

“The loss of a potential child by abortion gives rise to the universal experience of mourning, in which adolescents are developmentally more vulnerable…. Because strong cultural and religious taboos exist, aspects of traumatic grief are sometimes ignored….

The adolescents described feelings of guilt, shame, secrecy, or confusion that clarified how the social stigma of abortion was reinforced in the high school setting. American adolescents are more likely to disapprove of abortion because they tend to respond in absolute terms to moral issues. Stone and Waszak’s study (Stone, R., & Waszak, C. (1992). Adolescent knowledge and attitudes about abortion. Family Planning Perspectives, 24, 52-57) demonstrated that adolescents’ first association to abortion was “killing the baby” ….

The group members in our study indicated they felt guilty when they were seen entering the abortion clinic, a feeling exacerbated by protesters who were sometimes encountered outside the clinic. Classroom discussions that condemned abortion also made the adolescents feel uncomfortable and guilty….

The socially based negative emotions of guilt, shame, and fear of disapproval were still noted in these group participants, even 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed women’s right to choose, offering some societal acceptance of this choice. These feelings of guilt and shame, along with the shock and trauma of the pregnancy, can prevent adolescents from incorporating the experience of abortion into a learning experience because the defense of denial is used. This denial may cause a repetition of the shameful experience….

Some group members shared that they talked to the fetus and said, “I’m sorry,” to the fetus.”

Daly, Joan Ziegler, ACSW; Ziegler, Robert, MD; Goldstein, Donna J, RN, CPNP “Adolescent Postabortion Groups” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services; Thorofare Vol. 42, Iss. 10, (Oct 2004): 48-54.

Read more studies about the emotional impact of abortion

Share on Facebook

Questionnaire shows high rate of depression, guilt in post-abortive women

A questionnaire given out by a pro-life researcher asked post-abortive women whether they felt certain emotions after their abortions. Following are the percentages of women in the survey that said yes to the following emotions. The question was “Circle any that apply to your abortion.”

guilt: 89%
worry: 80%
shame: 87%
panic: 60%
emptiness: 61%
sorrow: 71%
isolation: 62%
anxiety: 73%
anger: 77%
fear: 85%
insecurity: 81%
weeping: 69%
depression: 81%
regret: 82%
eating disorders: 55%
sexual problems: 62%
emotionally numb: 59%
suicidal thoughts: 67%
chemical dependency: 73%
separated from God: 53%
hopelessness: 79%

Jennifer O’Neill Healing through God’s Grace after Abortion (Deerfield Beach, Florida: Faith Communications, 2005)

Share on Facebook

Study shows increased risk of substance abuse after abortion

The study indicates that women with a prior history of abortion are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use illicit drugs, and 10 times more likely to use marijuana during the first pregnancy they carry to term compared to other women delivering their first pregnancies.

“History of induced abortion in relation to substance abuse during pregnancies carried to term” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology December 2002; 187 (5)

Share on Facebook

Survey of Post-Abortion women reveals emotional turmoil

Lisa Arnold compiled the following statistics in 2002 and 2003 from over 200 postabortion women. She works in a crisis pregnancy center, and this is taken from the women who came to her who had past abortions.


My decision to abort had a great impact on my life

agree: 88%
disagree: 7%
not sure: 5%


my self-image has changed since my abortion

agree 78%
disagree 11%
not sure 11%

I cry over my abortion and aborted child (1 – 3 times per month)

agree: 44%
disagree: 39%
not sure: 17%

I feel disconnected and separated from others since my abortion.

Agree: 58%
disagree: 36%
not sure: 6%

I have trouble expressing my emotions.

Agree: 62%
disagree: 29%
not sure: 9%

I find myself being easily angered

agree: 72%
disagree: 21%
not sure: 7%

I struggle with depression.

Agree: 69%
disagree: 20%
not sure: 11%

I am startled when unexpectedly approached or hear a loud noise.

Agree: 57%
disagree: 20%
not sure: 11%

I often feel moody or irritable.

Agree: 80%
disagree: 11%
not sure: 9%

I have trouble sleeping.

Agree: 69%
disagree: 22%
not sure: 9%

I struggle with guilt and self-condemnation over my abortion.

Agree: 85%
disagree: 10%
not sure: 5%

I have kept my abortion a closely guarded secret.

Agree: 82%
disagree: 17%
not sure: 1%

I thought my life would stay the same or change for the better after my abortion.

Agree: 67%
disagree: 18%
not sure: 15%

I worry a lot about the future.

Agree: 78%
disagree: 14%
not sure: 8%

I feel separated from God because of what I have done.

Agree: 65%
disagree: 30%
not sure: 5%

I am afraid God will punish me for having my abortion.

Agree: 72%
disagree: 16%
not sure: 12%

It is difficult for me to make decisions and stick to them.

Agree: 56%
disagree: 2%
not sure: 42%

I thought the emotional pain I have felt over my abortion would lessen over the years but it has gotten stronger.


Agree: 78%

disagree: 19%
not sure: 3%

I think about how old my child would be now.

Agree: 86%
disagree: 12%
not sure: 2%

My abortion experience as a whole was the biggest mistake of my life.

Agree: 73%
disagree: 15%
not sure: 12%

My abortion experience was a relief and helped me to get on with my life.

Agree: 12%
disagree: 76%
not sure: 12%

I would never have another abortion.

Agree: 79%
disagree: 3%
not sure: 18%

I would have another abortion if I felt I had to.

Agree: 9%
disagree: 80%
not sure: 11%

I am interested in free postabortion counseling.

Agree: 75%
disagree: 11%
not sure: 14%
“The women surveyed are of ages ranging from 14 to 58 and come from widespread socioeconomic environments, are of various ethnic backgrounds and have diverse religious beliefs. The period of time from their abortion experience to complete the survey varied from one month to 37 years. The information was gathered in an effort to research the overall effect abortion has on a diverse number of women. It will be used to benefit those involved in counseling and recovery from postabortion stress.”

Jennifer O’Neill Healing through God’s Grace after Abortion (Deerfield Beach, Florida: Faith Communications, 2005) 63-65

Share on Facebook

Study: women who have repeat abortions have problems getting along with others

“A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that repeat abortion patients had more difficulty in getting along with others and evidenced significantly higher distress scores on interpersonal sensitivity, paranoid ideation, phobic anxiety, and sleep disturbance than women undergoing abortion for the first time.”

Ellen Freeman “Emotional Distress Patterns among Women Having First or Repeat Abortions” Obstetrics and Gynecology 55 (5), 1980, 630

Share on Facebook

Article in medical journal: abortion triggers obsessive-compulsive disorder

Author Curt Young summarizes a case profiled in  the American Journal of Psychotherapy about a woman whose mental illness was greatly exacerbated by her abortion:

“[The article] recounted the story of a 19-year old woman whose abortion was recommended by a psychiatrist as a mental health safeguard. At the time of her abortion no medical personnel were present with her, so she had the opportunity to study the dead infant. She was especially affected at seeing the tiny but well-formed toes and fingers.

In a strange sort of self-retaliation, she concluded that her hands and feet were dirty and hurt other people. She began washing her hands thirty to forty times each day and refused to wear shoes or socks.  Soon she was continually washing all her possessions. She could no longer function normally. Fifteen months after her abortion, this young woman was admitted to a psychiatric unit.”

The study was:  Steven Lipper and W. Morton Feigenbaum “Obsessive Compulsive Neurosis After Viewing the Fetus During a Therapeutic Abortion” American Journal of Psychotherapy 30 1976, 666-74

The book that cited it:  Curt Young The Least of These: What Everyone Should Know about Abortion (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1984) 62-63

Share on Facebook

Abortion worker comments on “loss of control” with pain relief

An abortion clinic worker named Carole said:

“People have pain when they don’t have drugs, but I don’t know that pain is always a bad thing. Valium is like drinking in that it numbs you. For women with issues about control or sexual abuse, that loss of control can do more harm than good.”

Anna Runkle In Good Conscience: A Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion (San Francisco: Jossey–Bass Publishers, 1998)

This abortion worker says that women who have suffered sexual abuse might be reminded of their trauma when “losing control” under anesthesia during an abortion procedure. They may be reminded of their helplessness, while in a drugged state during an invasion of their bodies. Abortion can be harmful for these women.

Share on Facebook

Study by Anne Speckhard on emotional trauma

Researcher Anne Speckhard conducted a study that showed how abortion causes emotional trauma in women.

She interviewed women who regretted their abortions and found that they experienced the following:

• grief reactions (100 percent)

• feelings of depression (92 percent)

• feelings of anger (92 percent)

• feelings of guilt (92 percent)

• fear that others would learn of the pregnancy and abortion (89 percent)

• surprise at the intensity of the emotional reaction to the abortion (85 percent)

• feelings of lowered self worth (81 percent)

• feelings of victimization (81 percent)

• decreased effectiveness, or suppressed ability to experience pain (73 percent)

• feelings of discomfort around infants and small children (73 percent).

Anne Speckhard The Psycho-Social Aspects of Stress Following Abortion (Sheed and Ward, Kansas City, 1987)

Quoted in:  “ABORTION A Briefing Book For Canadian Legislators” Campaign Life Coalition NATIONAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE July 2002

These women were a selected sample of those who regretted their abortions, so this may not be representative of ALL women who have abortions. But the study shows that some women have  emotional trauma due to abortion.

Read more about abortion’s psychological impact and the emotional trauma it causes.

Share on Facebook

Study shows abortion doesn’t improve mental illness

Before abortion was legalized in the United States, women could get permission for an abortion by going to a psychiatrist and proving they were mentally ill and would be a adversely affected by the pregnancy. A study done soon after abortion’s legalization however, shows:

“…it would appear that the more serious the psychiatric diagnosis: the less beneficial was the abortion…As might be expected chronic characterological neurotic or psychotic conditions are not solved by abortion, which is in essence a form of environmental manipulation.”

Ford et al., “Abortion: Is it a Therapeutic Procedure in Psychiatry?” Journal of the American Medical Association in November, 1978

Share on Facebook

David Ferguson does 25 Year Study

Pro-life doctor Marissa Ogle, M.D wrote about an abortion study that pro-abortion people tried to repress,by Dr. David Ferguson:

“A reputable research scientist attempted to publish results of a well-designed study that concluded, to his surprise, that abortion has a negative impact on the psychological well-being of women. This study by Dr. David Ferguson, a New Zealand pro-choice researcher who was attempting to disprove abortion’s psychological effect on women, found that 42% of women who have had abortions had experienced major depression within the prior 4 years – almost double the rate of women who never became pregnant. The study also indicates that women who have had abortions are twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and 3 times as likely to be addicted to illegal substances. The study also found that the risk of anxiety disorders was doubled.

Dr. Ferguson’s study was well-designed, spanning the course of 25 years… The study was undertaken with the position of validating the viewpoint that abortion did not increase mental health problems, but to confirm that these problems were preexisting. Much to the surprise of the researching team, the exact opposite was true. When Dr. Ferguson’s results were presented to New Zealand’s abortion supervisory committee, which ensures that abortions in the country are conducted in accordance with legal requirements, Dr. Ferguson was discouraged from publishing the results. Fortunately, despite his political beliefs, Dr. Ferguson felt that this would be “scientific irresponsibility.” Ferguson himself stated that he remains pro-choice and is not a religious person. The findings were surprising to him, however in his opinions were very robust. He went on to say that abortion is a traumatic event, involving loss and grief that may, in fact, predispose women to mental illness.

The doctor found:

“The fact is that abortions are the most common medical procedure that young women face – by the age of 25, one in 7 have had an abortion – and the research into the costs and benefits have been very weak. This is because the debate between the pro-life and the pro-choice has, in a sense, driven the science out. It verges on scandalous that a surgical procedure that is performed on over one in 10 women has been so poorly researched and evaluated, given the debates about the psychological consequences of abortion.”

Quote is from Ruth Hill “Abortion researcher confounded by study” The New Zealand Herald January 5, 2006

The pro-life author says:

Ferguson then went on to experience a great challenge in finding a journal that would publish the study, very unusual for a research team who typically has research published with the first attempt. A subsequent study by Ferguson reiterated his findings.”

Marissa Ogle, M.D. Still Healing:(2016)  13 – 14

The studies are:

David Ferguson, M., L. John Horwood, Elizabeth M Ritter “Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health” Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry 47.9 (2013): 819 – 27

David Ferguson, LJ Horwood, JM Bowden “Does abortion reduce the mental health risks of unintended pregnancy? A reappraisal of the evidence” Aust N Z Journal of Psychiatry 47.1 (2006): 16 – 24

Read more about abortion’s mental health risks

Share on Facebook