Administrator

For the first time in its history, the Guttmacher Institute has published a paper acknowledging negative psychological consequences of induced abortion. Authors Kimport, Foster, and Weitz (2011) report on the experiences of 21 women who experienced “emotional difficulties related to an abortion.” Most (14) of the women interviewed were recruited from two secular abortion talklines. The rest (7) were recruited from a pilot study which also focused on women’s experience of elective abortion. Time involved in the interviews ranged from ½ hour to 3 hours with an average of 75 minutes. Using semi-structured interviews, Kimport et al. sought to identify salient themes among participants. More specifically, they attempted to explore the women’s “interactions with others and the broader social context,” (p. 104). This broader context included both the involvement of others in the abortion decision making process and the reactions of others to the pregnancy and abortion. Such “others” included family, friends and partners.

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Administrator

Too often drowned out in the politics of abortion is the little noticed revelation that both sides can and do agree on something about abortion. Few realize this reality: some women are psychologically injured as a result of their abortion and considerable research suggests which women are more likely to be at risk.  A recent study reported that between 5.8% - 24.7% of the annual prevalence of certain mental disorders in the U.S. could be prevented if women did not elect abortion.[1] This information is not readily promoted and is all too often obfuscated.  To understand how and why this is so, it would be well to first examine the role of one of the world’s largest associations of mental health providers on this issue. Secondly, which women are more likely to be at risk will be explored. And lastly, the implications of what can be agreed upon will be discussed in the context of improving the informed consent process and pre-abortion counseling.

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Administrator

Limited research has focused on the mental health risks of late-term abortion. Several large scale studies have revealed that abortions after the 1st trimester (144,000 performed annually) pose more serious risks to women’s physical health than 1st trimester abortions [1,2]. The physical complication rate is 3%–6% at 12-13 weeks gestation and increases to 50% or higher as abortions are performed into the 2nd trimester [1]. However, relatively little is known about the increased mental health risks associated with late-term abortion. In an effort to provide relevant data, Coleman, Coyle & Rue analyzed online surveys completed by 374 women who experienced either a 1st trimester abortion or a 2nd or 3rd trimester abortion. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Pregnancy [3]. Most respondents were U.S. citizens (81%), the majority of women sampled were unmarried at the time of the abortion (86%), and the women were generally well-educated, with nearly half having earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree. With regard to ethnicity, 85.4% were White, 3% were Black, and 5.7% were Hispanic. The average amount of time elapsed since the abortion was 15 years.

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The Alliance for Post-Abortion Research and Training (APART) is dedicated to standing apart from the political debate as we conduct rigorous research, disseminate accurate information and serve as a forum for collaboration among scholars and professionals in the U.S. and internationally.

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