How Many Women Who've Had Abortions Regret It?

According to a new study published in PLOS-One, 95 percent of women who have gotten abortions still believe it was the right choice to make even three years after their decision. Although the study by the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) group at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, isn’t quite complete, its intentions are to examine women who get pregnant accidentally and the mental, physical, and socioeconomic results of terminating the unwanted pregnancy or keeping it.

Almost 10 years later, I still maintain that my abortion was the best decision of my life. I had only been in New York City for a year, was dating someone casually, and being in between jobs, was without insurance, so I wasn’t exactly ready to be a mother. Oh, and I don’t want kids ever, so there’s that, too.

Although politicians love to claim that abortion leads to nothing but regret for women (and of course “murder”), the researchers are adamant about the fact that nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, women find relief in making a decision that is right for them and if they go into it knowing that they are correct in the choice they made for their body, that lack of regret can last a lifetime.

But that’s not the only statistic the study found. Here are six other things you didn’t know about abortion.

1. There’s More Than A 99 Percent Chance That A Woman Won’t Regret Her Abortion

While the overall percentage of those who were happy with their decision is at 95, as the study found, the “typical participant” had greater than a 99 percent chance of feeling that their abortion was the absolute correct choice for her.

2. Women’s Feelings On Making The Right Choice Don't Change No Matter When They Terminate

The study found that whether a woman terminates early on her in pregnancy or later, there's “no differences in emotional trajectories or decision rightness.” In both scenarios, relief and negative emotions subside, but these women maintaining it was the right choice didn’t change.

3. How A Woman’s Community Feels About Abortion Makes All The Difference

As for those who struggled with the stigma attached to an abortion, it had mostly to do with lower social support in their community. It was these women who had the most negative emotions about their decision.

4. Students And Working Women Are Less Likely To Regret Their Abortion

Women who are working or in school are far more secure in their decision to terminate. Also women who choose not to include the man (the potential father, so to speak) in the process of making the decision to abort also added to that sense of security in having made the right choice.

5. Individualized Counseling Is The First Step In Combating Abortion Regret

Because no one should regret making a decision that is right her and her body, the study suggested that focusing on counseling women who are struggling with what to do will provide some relief. “Efforts to combat stigma may also support the emotional well-being of women terminating pregnancies,” explained the researchers. Counseling that's geared to each specific women's concern is the a great place to start.

6. Women Who Regret Their Abortions Are In The Minority

As the study found, only 25 percent of the women surveyed had feelings of negativity in regards to their abortion, especially in the week following the procedure. But, as the researchers were quick to point out, this small percentage doesn’t “invalidate the reality that abortion is nearly always seen as the right choice to make.”

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