As opposed to popular belief, a new study shows that women who undergo an abortion are happier than those who have been denied the procedure. Many health care providers argue that abortions may have a negative impact on the women’s mental health. Hence, most of them advise their patients to carry on with the pregnancy.
However, a new study focused on the women who asked for an abortion but were denied the procedure, because the pregnancy was past the three weeks time limit. In some states, a law requires women who seek to undergo such a procedure to subject themselves to counseling about the alleged negative psychological outcome.
Antonia Biggs, at the University of California in San Francisco, and the lead author of the study argues that being able to choose whether to have an abortion or not leads to improved mental health, as opposed to the women who have been denied the procedure. Also, in the light of new information, Ms. Biggs urges doctors to provide women who seek to undergo an abortion with accurate scientific information, in order to help them make a decision.
Over the course of five years, the researchers interviewed and gathered information on 956 women who agreed to take part in the study. Out of the 956 participants, 273 women underwent abortions in the first trimester and 452 subjected themselves to the procedure within two weeks under the limit.
The first round of interviews with the women occurred within one week after the subjects either had the procedure or were denied one. The researchers then performed follow-up interviews every six months. In five years’ time, the interviewers asked the participants questions related to their place of birth, previous mental and physical health records, and history of traumatic events that might have previously occurred.
In the first year, the women who were denied an abortion displayed high levels of anxiety and signs of depression, as opposed to those who have successfully undergone the procedure. However, the mental health improved, and after one year both samples were displaying normal behavior. Another factor that could have contributed to the depressed state of the women who have been denied the procedure might have been the stress caused by still trying to obtain an abortion at other facilities. Ultimately, women who were unable to undergo the procedure recovered, even though slower than the others.
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