You say "regret" and I say "relief": a need to break the polemic about abortion

Contraception (Impact Factor: 2.93). 09/2008; 78(2):87-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2008.04.116
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The notion that abortion causes poor mental health has gained traction, even though it is not supported by research. Few studies have comprehensively investigated women's postabortion emotions. Baseline data from a longitudinal study of women seeking abortion at 30 U.S. facilities between 2008 and 2010 were used to examine emotions among 843 women who received an abortion just prior to the facility's gestational age limit, were denied an abortion because they presented just beyond the gestational limit or obtained a first-trimester abortion. Multivariable analyses were used to compare women's emotions about their pregnancy and about their receipt or denial of abortion after one week, and to identify variables associated with experiencing primarily negative emotions postabortion. Compared with women who obtained a near-limit abortion, those denied the abortion felt more regret and anger (scoring, on average, 0.4-0.5 points higher on a 0-4 scale), and less relief and happiness (scoring 1.4 and 0.3 points lower, respectively). Among women who had obtained the abortion, the greater the extent to which they had planned the pregnancy or had difficulty deciding to seek abortion, the more likely they were to feel primarily negative emotions (odds ratios, 1.2 and 2.5, respectively). Most (95%) women who had obtained the abortion felt it was the right decision, as did 89% of those who expressed regret. Difficulty with the abortion decision and the degree to which the pregnancy had been planned were most important for women's postabortion emotional state. Experiencing negative emotions postabortion is different from believing that abortion was not the right decision.
    Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 09/2013; 45(3):122-31. DOI:10.1363/4512213 · 1.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The debate about abortion regret rests on competing assumptions about women’s attachment to pregnancy. Antiabortion claimants argue women always attach to pregnancy (inevitably regretting abortion), while abortion rights supporters counter that women do not attach to pregnancies they choose to terminate (feeling relief instead). Neither assumption explains women’s experience; research shows that attachment is discursively produced. Using interview data from 21 women, this study moves past these political claims to empirically identify three sources of women’s emotional difficulty around abortion: social disapproval, romantic relationship loss, and head versus heart conflict. Findings point to the importance of attention to women’s lived experience and space for complex feelings around abortion.
    Symbolic Interaction 05/2012; 35(2-2):105-122. DOI:10.1002/symb.11 · 0.40 Impact Factor