A study published in January found that most women who had an abortion stated that outside pressures influenced their decision to abort. In addition, those who felt pressured into having an abortion were more likely to have experienced adverse emotional and mental health reactions related to the decision.
A recent peer-reviewed study conducted by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an organization that leads the pro-life movement with “groundbreaking scientific, statistical, and medical research,” surveyed 1,000 women in the United States between the ages of 41 and 45.
Of the 1,000 surveyed, 226 respondents stated that they had a history of abortion. Women were asked to “rate the pressure to abort arising from male partners, family members, other persons, financial concerns, and other circumstances.”
The study found that 61% of women experienced “high levels of pressure” to proceed with the procedure.
The respondents noted that “perceived pressure to abort was significantly associated with more negative emotions.” Pressure to abort was also associated with daily life, work, or relationship disruptions, intrusive thoughts and flashbacks to the abortion, frequent feelings of loss and grief about the abortion, and moral conflict over their decision to abort.
Tessa Longbons, senior research associate at Lozier Institute and co-author of the study, argued that women are not empowered by abortion but rather are controlled by the “abortion industry’s coercion.”
Women with a history of abortion reported feeling “higher levels of stress” regarding completing the survey and were four times more likely than women without a history of abortion to quit the survey once the topic was raised.
“A history of abortion, especially when there was pressure to abort, is associated with more stress completing questionnaires touching on abortion experiences and with a higher dropout rate, a finding that is consistent with the view that abortion surveys are likely to underrepresent the experiences of the women who experience the most stress and negative reactions to their abortions,” the report stated.
The study suggested that abortion providers screen for potential perceived pressures and offer counseling services to ensure women are not pushed into having unwanted abortions.
David Reardon, Ph.D., a Lozier Institute associate scholar and lead author of the study, stated, “Abortion clinics cannot claim to be pro-woman while at the same time allowing the majority of their clients to be pressured into unwanted abortions.”
“In a country torn by political debate over abortion, surely these findings underscore one point on which we should all be able to agree,” Reardon continued. “No woman should ever feel pressured into accepting an unwanted abortion. Clearly, abortion clinics need to provide better pre-abortion screening and counseling in order to prevent unsafe and unwanted abortions.”
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