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Abortion: Negative Impacts on Women


Abortion is an issue that evokes controversy, with those opposed to it invoking moral and religious ground as to why it should not be allowed. On the other hand, those in support of abortion cite unwanted pregnancies and rape as some of the reasons why it should be legalized. Abortion has been legalized in a number of countries while in others it is perceived a crime punishable by law. Those against abortion in the big debate ‘the pro-life’ are strict on intentional abortion being wrong always, those for it-‘the pro-choice’ look at intentional abortion as acceptable depending on the circumstances. This contention perhaps is due to the fact that the potential victim is incapable of offering its opinion. Since 1973, abortion has been legal though its effective availability varies from state to state, it being a contentious issue in the U.S society, law and politics. In 2005 alone, there were 820,151 legal induced abortions in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (CDC Surveillance Summaries, 2008, p.1). Some common reasons proposed for abortion are the urge to postpone childbearing, inability to afford for a baby, relationship problems where perhaps a partner does not want a baby, disruption of a job or education by a child and in few cases, the risk to maternal health. The question however still remains, is a fetus human life that deserves protection by law? In this regard, abortion may not only be a case of morality-right or wrong but has other implications on the mother that need consideration as well. Abortion should not be legal because of moral values at hand and that the women who survive it suffer physical, mental and emotional injury as will be discussed below (Reardon, 1987, P.10).

Moral/Social Values

Moral claims are categorized as evaluations that are distinct from empirical claims that are confirmed by observations. For example, some of the most common questions encountered in this moral debate include, is abortion killing a life? Is it life already? Scientifically, a fetus is human life. The life in a fetus may be attested by its continued growth, maturity and development. In addition, a fetus is regarded as a human in that it is one of the biological beings belonging to the species Homo sapiens, made unique from other beings for their possession of 46 human chromosomes in every cell. As an innocent human being, when the fetus is killed though abortion, this could as well be the death of a human being. Some may argue that they have a right to control their body as they deem best. Nonetheless, there is need to appreciate the fact that even in these modern times, no single nation has granted total dominion over the life or death of a child to its mother or father. In the same way, not a single state allows the killing of another individual, and abortion is no exception. However, this is what legalizing abortion has done to people- religious or not. It has given the right to cease life following the most basic definitions (Burke & Reardon, 2002, p. 5)

Physical injury

Physical injury focuses on immediate and future health implications on women who have had an abortion. Immediate ‘minor’ complications include minor infections, fevers, bleeding, abdominal pain, gastro-intestinal discomfort, and vomiting while more severe problems include excessive bleeding, embolism, perforation of the uterus, convulsions and infections. On infections, the typical infection associated with abortion is the pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which often results to infertility even with prompt treatment. It has been found that approximately 10% of women develop tubal adhesions leading to infertility after one episode of PID (Gargaro, 1996, p.1) Abortion causes cervical damage, weakening the cervix making it unable to carry later pregnancy which leads to higher levels of miscarriages.

Galgaro reports of a 1973 survey that Dr. Wren undertook, and which indicates two thirds of all women who had procured an abortion presented with symptoms related to cervical incompetence due to forced dilation during abortion. Abortion poses danger to future babies as well as death of the women in future pregnancies (Wren, 1973, p. 1148).

Mental injury

An aborted woman is mentally disturbed; she has recurrent thoughts about the abortion or the aborted child. She is in denial of the thoughts or feelings dealing with the abortion and she has suicidal thoughts and act which can all be compounded to depression and substance abuse. The case is told of Donna Fleming whose second abortion saw her turn suicidal as she jumped (together with her two sons)off a bridge in Long Beach, California in a bid to ‘re-unite’ her family. She ‘heard voices’ in her head. Kathy on the other hand has intrusive thoughts that make her feel like killing her other living children which later ended after doing grief work for her abortion (Rhode Island, 2010, p.1).The way a victim reacts to psychological trauma, like through suicide is as a result of the need to hide trauma as well as expose it, which comes with devastating effects on an individual. Like in a study of 500 aborted women, it was found that 50% expressed negative feelings and 10% got serious psychiatric complications (Friedman, Greenspan & Mittleman, 1974, p.1332-1337) implying mental injury in aborted women is actually more than half of the sample size.

Emotional injury

There is relief after an abortion which is followed by a period of emotional ‘paralysis’ as psychiatrists would define it. At this time, aborted women are unable to identify their own feelings. Emotionally, some are unable to complete the grieving process and develop self destructive tendencies like sexual dysfunction while others even become promiscuous, irritable, develop aggressive behavior; some lose interest in previous enjoyed activities and others are unable to maintain loving relationships. This is exemplified in women who are not able to love other children like in the case of Rhonda who opened a daycare to cover for her prior abortions. She instead got into fury outbursts, anxiety and child abuse, a reminder of the ‘bad’ person she had already made of herself (Rhode Island, 2010, p. 1). Between 30 and 50 percent of women who have procured an abortion are reported to present with sexual dysfunction (in the short- term or long- term) after the procedure has been carried out (Elliot Institute, 2006, p. 1). Some other women who seem to have had a successful abortion are reported to get into emotional crisis much later, even after menopause. Research has it that anniversary dates of the abortion precipitate the post abortion crisis.


All in all, the negative effects of abortion are more than what it mends if any, it does not justify its legalisation else it will go on hurting women who may not be aware of its deep- seated consequences.


Burke, T., & Reardon, D. C. (2002). Forbidden grief: the unspoken pain of abortion. Kansasa city, MO: Acorn Books

CDC Surveillance Summaries. (2008). Abortion Surveillance United States. Web.

Elliot Institute. (2006). The aftereffects of Abortion. Web.

Friedman, C. M., Greenspan, R., & Mittleman F. (1974). “The Decision-Making Process and the Outcome of Therapeutic Abortion”, American Journal of Psychiatry,131.

Gargaro, C. (1996). Abortion Related medical complications-sterility, Web.

Reardon (1987). Aborted Women-Silent No More. Chicago: Loyola University Press.

Rhode Island. (2010). Side effects of Abortion. Web.

Wren, B. G. (1973). “Cervical Incompetence Aetiology and Management”, Med J Aust. 2(26):1146-7


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