About this issue          Ads & Awareness          Advocacy & Outreach          Help & Healing  


 The UnChoice ...



Widespread coercion

Babies & moms at risk

Injustice to all involved

Hope & Healing

You are not alone 



 Learn and Share

Coerced Abortions

Forced Abortions in U.S.

Rape & Incest

Teens & Abortion

Men & Abortion

Abortion & Suicide



 How to Help



Message Shop

Donate Library Books


Join our e-news list

Link to our site


About Us




Psychological effects of abortion

Fact sheets, resources, articles and more




   physical risks page    fact sheets    articles & resources     news & academic research  
help for those being coerced   post-abortion help page    how to help others (pdf)    books page




Aftereffects, including clinical depression, trauma and suicide

In addition to traumatic pre-abortion injustices, such as exploitation; coercion; negligent, rushed, conflicted or non-existent counseling; or even violence, the psychological aftereffects of abortion are also significant and in some cases life-threatening.


One study found that 65% of American women who had abortions experienced symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).1 Another study found high rates of PTSD11 after abortion -- rates which were lower than rates of PTSD in male Vietnam veterans.12


Unresolved post-abortion issues can lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse; eating, sleep or anxiety disorders;10  or even suicide. Women who had abortions were 6 times more likely to commit suicide in the following year than were delivering women.3 A study of women for up to eight years after the pregnancy ended found a 2.5 times higher suicide rate after abortion than after giving birth.4


Studies find that post-abortion issues are not attributable to pre-existing conditions

Researchers have controlled for pre-existing conditions and found that the aftereffects of abortion were not attributable to pre-existing issues.


One study found that women who abort experience a 65% higher risk of clinical depression after controlling for age, race, education, marital status, income and prior psychiatric problems.2 A New Zealand study found that women had higher rates of suicidal behavior, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other disorders after abortion. The study found that these were not pre-existing problems.5


Coerced abortions are a human rights abuse, yet common


Most abortions in America involve coercion, which may be direct or indirect. In some cases, personal coercion can escalate to violence.7, 8 One study found that most women felt pressured by others and most felt rushed or uncertain, yet most received no counseling or information about alternatives.1 Over 80 percent said they did not receive enough information to make an informed choice.1 Many abortion businesses don't screen for coercion and may even "sell" abortion for profit-driven or other reasons.9 Coercion is also a known risk factor for post-abortion problems. (See also Forced Abortion in America.)


Help for those at risk or hurt:

Teens or women of any age being coerced into an unwanted abortion can find help at the Center Against Forced Abortions.) Those experiencing post-abortion issues or those seeking to help others can find links and tips on the Help & Healing page.



Fact Sheets & Special Reports:


Psychological Risks of Abortion single-page fact sheet (pdf)

Psychological Risks of Abortion – multi-page fact sheet (pdf)


(See also: Physical Effects of Abortion page)
Most Abortions Involve Coercion



Other fact sheets:

Research Booklet, Summary of Studies on Physical and Psychological Effects (pdf)

Teens at Risk (pdf of fact sheet) Teens at Risk page

Portraits of Coercion (pdf)
Forced Abortion in America fact sheet, flyer or 26-page report (pdfs)



Articles and resources:


More than 30 Studies in Recent Years Show Abortion's Negative Impact on Women

Women at Risk: Abortion and the High-Risk Patient

Q & A: Finding Real Answers about Abortion

Survey of Reactions to Abortion

Detrimental Effects of Abortion (medical reference book)

Risk Factors - Warning Signs Predicting Post-Abortion Trauma and Other Issues



AfterAbortion.org (Elliot Institute)



News regarding psychological effects of abortion


Wantedness and Coercion: Key Factors in Understanding Women's Mental Health After Abortion 1/4/12


Most Studies Show Abortion Linked to Increased Mental Health Problems 9/1/11


Study Links Abortion to Increased Mental Health Problems 2/2/11


More Than 30 Studies In Last Five Years Show Negative Impact of Abortion on Women's Mental Health 11/16/10


Researchers Say Study Claiming Abortion Not Linked to Teen Depression is Flawed 10/11/10


Study: Women Who Use Abortion Drug Experience More Pain, Emotional Distress 10/11/10


A Breech of Public Responsibility: Researcher Responds to Claims That Studies Show No Mental Health Problems After Abortion 10/11/10


New Study Shows Later Abortions More Likely to Be Unwanted, Are Linked to Psychological Problems 8/27/10


New Study Affirms Link Between Abortion and Subsequent Mental Health Problems 5/13/10


Study Linking Poor Pre-Abortion Counseling and PTSD Points to Need for New Legislation 1/22/10


Psychiatric Disorders Linked to Abortion for Fetal Anomalies  11/10/09


Distress After Abortion Linked to Increased Mental Health Disorders, Study Finds 11/5/09


Abortion Has Greater Impact on Parenting Than Other Forms of Pregnancy Loss, New Literature Review Finds 7/1/09


New Study Shows Negative Impact of Abortion on Relationships for Women, Men 4/16/09


New Study Links Abortion to Wide Range of Mental Health Disorders 12/11/08


Study Finds Abortion Provides No Mental Health Benefits to Women, Even When Pregnancy is Unwanted 12/11/08


UK Health Columnist Acknowledges Long-Term Effects of Abortion on Relationships 5/16/08


Sleep Disorders After Abortion May Be a Symptom of Trauma 3/19/08


British College of Psychiatrists Admits Abortion Can Cause Mental Health Problems 3/19/08


British Woman's Death Part of Dangerous Trend of Unwanted Abortions and Post-Abortion Trauma 3/3/08


New Study Finds Higher Substance Use Rates Among Pregnant Women After Abortion  


Trauma Symptoms After Abortion Are Common: New Study Shows Women Attribute Symptoms to Abortion


New Study Links Abortion to Increased Risk of Child Abuse


Substance Abuse, Sexual Disorders, and Suicidal Thoughts Linked to Abortion    


Abortion Linked to Later Anxiety Problems, New Study Shows    


Death Rate of Abortion Three Times Higher than Childbirth: 13-year Population Study 

Published in Top OB/Gyn Journal    


Women Who've Been Pregnant Through Sexual Assault Plead For Public Hearings  


Abortion or Birth of Unintended Pregnancy Affects Subsequent Substance Abuse: New Study   


Psychiatric Hospitalization Rises After Abortion, New Study in CMAJ


Abortion Linked to Long-Term Clinical Depression in Nationally Representative Study


Substance Abuse Among Pregnant Women Linked to Prior Abortion, Puts Later Children At Risk, New Study


Abortion May Affect Mothering And Development Of Later Children, New Study


Abortion Linked to Elevated Mortality Rate Among Women, New Study


Women Need More Mental Health Treatment After Abortion, New Study Finds

Most Compelling, Up-to-date Information on the Forbidden Grief of Abortion Published in New Book

Clinical Depression / Abortion Link Reported in Top Journal


Pro-choice Researchers Acknowledge Existence of "Postabortion Syndrome" — Half a Million Affected

Abortion Nearly Four Times Deadlier Than Childbirth: New Government Study In Finland Ignored by Abortion Providers 


Women's Mental Health Declines After Abortion While Childbirth Helps: Two New Studies


Rape and Incest Victims Reject and Regret Abortions. New Book Surveys 192 Victims 


New Study Links Abortion to Subsequent Substance Abuse 



Links to selected full text articles of medical research on abortion:


Suicides after pregnancy in Finland: 1987-94: register linkage study.  British Medical Journal 313:1431-4, 1996. Gissler M. Hemminki E, Lonnqvist J.


Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women. Med Sci Monit, 2004 10(10): SR5-16. Rue VM, Coleman PK, Rue JJ, Reardon DC.


Psychiatric admissions of low income women following abortion and childbirth.  Can Med Assoc J.  2003; 168(10):1253-7. Reardon DC, Cougle JR, Rue VM, Shuping MW, Coleman PK, Ney PG.


Depression associated with abortion and childbirth: A long-term analysis of the NLSY cohort. Medical Science Monitor, 1003; 9 (4), CR105-112. Cougle J, Reardon DC, Coleman PK.


Deaths associated with abortion compared to childbirth: a review of new and old data and the medical and legal implications. The Journal of Contemporary Health Law & Policy 2004; 20(2):279-327. Reardon DC, Strahan TW, Thorp JM, Shuping MW.


PK Coleman, CT Coyle & VM Rue, "Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms," Journal of Pregnancy, Aug. 2010.



The academic debate


For discussions of the "abortion distortion" effect in research on abortion, see:


Limitations on Post-Abortion Research: Why We Know So Little



More information



Physical Effects of Abortion

latest news


Summary of Recent Research

Center Against Forced Abortions







1. VM Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16, 2004.

2. JR Cougle, DC Reardon & PK Coleman, “Depression Associated With Abortion and Childbirth: A Long-Term Analysis of the NLSY Cohort,” Medical Science Monitor 9(4):CR105-112, 2003.

3. Gissler, Hemminki & Lonnqvist, "Suicides after pregnancy in Finland, 1987-94: register linkage study," British Journal of Medicine 313:1431-4, 1996; and M. Gissler, “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459-63,2005.

4. 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.

5. DM Fergusson et. al., “Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47(1): 16-24, 2006.

6. IL Horton and D Cheng, "Enchanced Surveillance for Pregnancy-Associated Mortality -- Maryland, 1993-1998," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 285(11):1455-1459 (2001); see also J. McFarlane et. al., "Abuse During Pregnancy and Femicide: Urgent Implications for Women's Health," Obstetrics & Gynecology 100:27-36 (2002).

7. IL Horton and D Cheng, "Enchanced Surveillance for Pregnancy-Associated Mortality -- Maryland, 1993-1998," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 285(11):1455-1459 (2001); see also J. McFarlane et. al., "Abuse During Pregnancy and Femicide: Urgent Implications for Women's Health," Obstetrics & Gynecology 100:27-36 (2002).


8. See the special report Forced Abortion in America.


9. Special report: Coercion in the Abortion Industry.


10. Psychological Effects fact sheet with citations.


11. Barnard C., "The Long-Term Psychological Effects of Abortion." Portsmouth, N.H.: Institute for Pregnancy Loss; 1990.


12. Gradus J. Epidemiology of PTSD. National Center for PTSD, United States Department of Veterans Affairs Web site. http://www.ptds.va.gov/professional/pages/epidemiological-facts-ptsd.asp Accessed Dec. 3, 2011 See section on National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study.


unwanted & forced abortions abortion risks  ad campaign research hard cases suicide

 fact sheets & flyers  books help & healing how to help donate  news links

for post-abortion counseling referrals, call 1-877-HOPE-4-ME or click here.
copyright 2006 Elliot Institute. All rights reserved.