Study Finds 'Abortion Regret' Exists Only In Fevered Imaginations Of GOP Legislators


For years, forced birth enthusiasts have been pushing for waiting periods and required "counseling" based on the belief that abortion is something one does on a whim and will severely regret later. In fact, this is often part of the forced "counseling." Eight states require doctors to tell patients that having an abortion could cause serious damage to their mental health down the road. Many states now require a patient to undergo an invasive ultrasound in order to obtain an abortion — based on the premise that doing so could change their mind and prevent them from making a mistake they would regret later.

Yet, as a person capable of getting pregnant, I have always known exactly what I would do if I were to get knocked up. How could I not? Everyone I've ever known who can get pregnant also knows exactly what they would do — especially since most of them have had at least one pregnancy scare in their lives. Immaculately conceived virgins aside, pregnancy usually doesn't just come out of nowhere.

Also, as a person capable of getting pregnant, I could easily imagine that being forced to have a child against my will would be a hell of a lot more mentally traumatizing than having an abortion. I certainly have known enough people who have had abortions and felt that way themselves.

A groundbreaking study published yesterday revealed that, three years after an abortion, 99% of those who had abortions still maintain they made the right decision for them. Moreover, after five years, the feeling they most associated with their abortion was relief.

The first-of-its-kind study tracked the emotional journey of 667 women from one week after their abortion until five years later. While studies have been previously done on post-abortion emotions, no other study has tracked anyone for this long.

Epidemiologist Corinne Rocca, who conducted the study, wrote in Salon that the decision to do this research was largely inspired by bills that had been passed on the premise that those who had abortions would come to regret them.

The results show that they do not.

As expected, women experienced ranges of negative and positive emotions in the week following the abortion. Yet, over time, women reported declining intensity of all emotions. This was true even for women who said that their decision to get an abortion was a difficult one and those who felt they would be shamed by friends and community for their choice. Both immediately after the abortion and five years later, the feeling women most often expressed about their decision was relief, not regret. By the end of five years, the chance that women reported that their abortion was the right decision was 99 percent. Ninety-nine percent. Our team also found in an earlier paper that there was no difference in emotions between women who sought abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy and those who sought later abortions.

It's almost as if women are not idiots who don't know what they really want! It's almost as if they are capable of making a decision like whether or not to have an abortion themselves, without any assistance at all from Republican legislators.

The study also showed that the 31 percent of those who said they came from communities where there was a lot of stigma around abortion had higher levels of "post-abortion sadness" than those who did not. This demonstrates that it's likely not "abortion" that causes any issues, but rather people being shitty about abortion that causes them.

There was, of course, the 1 percent of participants who did regret their abortion, but as Rocca points out, lots of people regret lots of major life decisions — but it's only abortion where legislators feel they have a right to intervene.


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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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