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Women's, Children's and Family Health

The Emotional Side of Abortion

Each woman having an abortion will experience the procedure differently from an emotional perspective based on the facts of her decision and circumstances such as her age, stage of pregnancy, and her religious beliefs. Women often report having both positive and negative feelings after having an abortion. Women who say they feel comfortable with their decision before the procedure are less likely to report regret later. Some women say they have had conflicting feelings lasting a longer time. These feelings may include anger, grief, emptiness and guilt, or sadness, as well as relief. Women may be more likely to experience negative feelings or have difficulty after the procedure if they were forced into a decision they didn't want or they had previous depression or other mental health issues.

Counseling or support before and after an abortion is very important. If family or friends are not supportive of the woman's decision, the feelings that appear after an abortion may be harder to handle. This is also true if the procedure was undertaken in secrecy or isolation. Talking with a counselor before having an abortion can help a woman understand the factors that are part of her decision and the feelings she may have afterward.

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