By definition, abortion refers to a deliberate termination of a pregnancy. Even so, the act is done to end an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. There are safe and unsafe abortions with the former consisting of in-clinic practices performed by a qualified physician or nurse (Grimes and Brandon 32). In this case, the practitioner either safely removes the pregnancy using medical instruments and gentle suction or uses medication. In medication abortion, the women take pills that make her uterus expel the gestation tissue and end the pregnancy. On the other hand, an unsafe abortion refers to the ending of a pregnancy by an unqualified individual or in an environment that is not up to the required medical standards. Use of high-dose medication, insertion of a sharp object into the womb, flushing the uterus with harmful liquids, and physical abuse are all forms of unsafe abortions (Grimes and Brandon 31). Women, who go for unsafe abortions are often ignorant of the adverse consequences to which they expose themselves. Whether safe or unsafe, abortion has noteworthy negative effects, particularly on the psychological, physiological, and economic fronts.
Abortion is linked to several physiological effects, including uterine perforation, placenta previa, cervical lacerations, pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and even death. Uterine perforation is the damage sustained by the womb following an abortion (Reardon par. 6). Approximately, two to three percent of all women who undergo abortion end up experiencing perforation in their wombs. However, the risk of getting the injury increases for women who received general anesthesia during the abortion. Uterine perforation can cause major complications in subsequent pregnancies, including excessive bleeding and death (Obengo 63). Conversely, placenta previa is a life-threatening condition that a woman who has had an abortion in the past can encounter in her later pregnancy. The disorder refers to the poor development of the placenta and can cause excessive bleeding in later pregnancies. Research shows that “placenta previa also increases the risk of subsequent fetal malformation and prenatal death” (Obengo 63). About eight to 15 percent of women who have had an abortion risk contracting placenta previa in their later pregnancies (Reardon par. 8). Cervical lacerations refer to micro fractures that the uterus sustains during an abortion. These damages, though minor, can progress into more serious injuries to the uterus. Without proper and timely treatment, “cervical lacerations may lead to cervical incompetence, premature delivery, and labor complications” (Obengo 63). In comparison, the risk of suffering from cervical lacerations is greater in teenagers than older women (Reardon par. 7). Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is another life-threatening complication that is associated with abortion. It is estimated that five percent of women who secure an abortion risk getting PID. The prevalence is even higher, at about 23 percent, for women who contract chlamydia at the time they are terminating a pregnancy. The condition also increases the chances of getting ectopic pregnancy, and in some cases, infertility, for women securing abortions (Reardon par. 12). All these complications damage the uterus and reduce infertility in the affected women. If the conditions are not treated in time, they affect the female reproductive organ making it difficult for a woman to conceive and successfully carry a pregnancy (Obengo 63). These complications can equally result in the death of the patient, especially if the abortion is unsafe.
Most of the women who abort develop various emotional disorders, including guilt, regret, self-hatred, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Guilt comes when the woman starts thinking that she denied her unborn child the chance to come into the world through abortion. It is usually a strong feeling that comes with intense remorse for doing something wrong. It is estimated that about 14.4 percent of women who abort end up being disturbed by the disruptive feeling of guilt for some time after terminating their pregnancies (Coleman et al. 116). Another negative emotional effect that catches up with women who have terminated their pregnancy is regret. It is a remorseful feeling that one develops after doing something they know so well is wrong. As for pregnancy termination, “every woman knows in her heart that abortion is wrong” (Coleman et al. 116). Nonetheless, some of them still go for the option because they feel the pregnancy they are carrying is unintended. After undertaking the procedure, some begin to feel remorseful for having done something they believe is wrong. About 9 percent of the women who do so regret shortly after the pregnancy is terminated (Coleman et al. 116). As they continue to regret, some of these women begin to hate themselves for having terminated their pregnancies. Self-hatred is another serious negative emotional feeling that makes such individuals angry at themselves. Research has it that approximately 12.4 percent of women who abort develop self-hatred (Coleman et al. 116). Some of them similarly become anxious thereafter. The victims begin to panic when they constantly start to imagine that they terminated a life. About 7.1 percent of women who secure abortion end up suffering anxiety at some point after terminating the pregnancy (Coleman et al. 116). Depression can also set in after undertaking the practice. It comes with a strong feeling of restlessness that prevents most victims from engaging in economic activities. Approximately, 14.4 percent of women who terminate their pregnancies develop depression following the act (Coleman et al. 116). With time, they begin to feel worthless with intense guilt, regret, and depression and start to feel that the only way to end all these is by committing suicide. In the absence of timely and appropriate therapy, “about 6.2 percent of women who aborted and suffering from various emotional disorders develop suicidal thoughts” (Coleman et al. 117). Collectively, the psychological effects of abortion are severe and hence people should desist from committing the act as much as they can.
The financial angle of the negative effects of abortion relates to the money spent to secure abortion services and treat post-abortion health complications, as well as the time lost by the women who miss work when dealing with the aftermath of the practice. Scholars point out that “U.S. taxpayers spend more than $12 billion each year on unintended pregnancies” (Yazdkhasti et al. 14). Going by these findings, it is clear that a lot of money is wasted handling issues of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in the country. If the unwanted pregnancies had been prevented, the money could have been used to undertake more meaningful developments that would benefit a large population. More specifically, in the United States, “over $103 million is allocated to abortion services” (Yazdkhasti et al. 14). The finding implies that securing abortion is just a very expensive service in the country. Although they help in reducing unsafe abortions, such programs are still costly to the taxpayer. Moreover, individual families spend a lot of money securing abortions for their members just to get rid of a pregnancy they consider unwanted. These households, if not for the abortions, could use the resources to do something of greater economic sense, such as educating their children and starting businesses. Besides the costs of securing abortions, treating the resulting health complications, both physiological and psychological, is equally expensive. For instance, if a woman develops PID, uterine perforations, or cervical lacerations after procuring an abortion, she and her family will be forced to part with large sums of money to treat these conditions (Yazdkhasti et al. 15). Depression and other mental problems that come after a woman has had an abortion also require a lot of money to treat. To make matters worse, most of the victims are rarely economically productive when they are recovering from these health complications (Coleman et al. 117). For those of them who were in business, their ventures start to make losses as they are not present to supervise them. Therefore, besides health complications, abortion causes negative economic consequences to individuals, families, and the country at large.
Abortion poses major physiological, psychological, and economic consequences to the woman who procures it and other stakeholders. The physiological effects of abortion include uterine perforation, placenta previa, and cervical lacerations. Women who terminate pregnancies can also develop pelvic inflammatory disease. These conditions and the excessive bleeding associated with abortion can lead to the death of the victim. On the other hand, the psychological complications that a woman may develop after having an abortion include regret, guilt, and anxiety. These disruptive emotional feelings often come up because most women begin feeling remorseful and hating themselves since they believe they have done something wrong. Some women who abort also end up becoming depressed in the long run. Consequently, they feel restless and always too tired to engage in any constructive social or economic activity. If not treated in time, these psychological disorders can become so intense and lead to the development of suicidal thoughts. As regards economic effects, they usually come in terms of the financial expenses incurred in accessing abortion services. Also, the costs of treating post-abortion health complications are staggering in some cases. The reduced economic productivity among such women who have aborted and are suffering from severe physiological or psychological health issues is also considered a negative economic effect.
Coleman, Priscilla K., et al. “Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences.” Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 22.4 (2017): 113-118.
Grimes, David A., and Linda G. Brandon. Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation. Carolina Beach, NC: Daymark Publishing, 2014.
Obengo, Tom J. The Quest for Human Dignity in the Ethics of Pregnancy Termination. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2016.
Reardon, David C. “A List of Major Physical Health Complications Related to Abortion.” AfterAbortion.org, n.d. Web. 7 May 2019. <http://afterabortion.org/1999/abortion-risks-a-list-of-major-physical-complications-related-to-abortion/>.