Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Psychol. 1987 Jan;121(1):71-6.

Women's self-reported responses to abortion.


The legalization of abortion in many states has allowed an alternative for women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies who do not wish to deliver and raise their children or to place them for adoption. Of 158 women asked to recall their responses to the experience, 21% reported psychosocial satisfaction at the time of abortion, and 45% reported satisfaction several months later; over half reported an improved outlook on life, and nearly half found abortion preferable to other alternatives for future unplanned pregnancies. It may prove important to make counseling or therapy available to about 10% of women who report negative responses (guilt and confusion) to the abortion.


Women members of a pre-paid health plan who had had therapeutic abortions during 3 years answered a questionnaire by mail on their reactions to the abortion experience. The procedure took 20 minutes, under general anesthesia, with a 36-hour hospital stay. 178 subjects submitted usable questionnaires. These included a wide range of ages, marital status, religious backgrounds, education and socioeconomic status. Most had abortions over 1.5 years before. Over 50% felt relieved after their abortions. Only 21% recalled feeling satisfaction at the time, but 45% were satisfied at the time of the survey. Nervousness, guilt or confusion were cited by 6, 14 and 11%. Over 50% reported an improved outlook on life after the abortion. Negative responses were reported by 9-12% for several items such as tension, anxiety, energy level and sleep problems and 17% for depression. 49% said that they would have another abortion in the event of a future unplanned pregnancy, compared to 25% who would keep the baby, 0% who would place it for adoption and 23% who did not know. The observation that some women recounted distress at the time of abortion suggests that counseling or psychotherapy should be provided to those in need.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center