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Five years after getting an abortion, 99% of women say they made the right decision: study

Of the women surveyed, a majority said the emotions they felt immediately after getting an abortion faded with time.

Five years after getting an abortion, 99% of women say they made the right decision: study
Image Source: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Sydneysiders attend an early morning rally at Parliament House in support Of decriminalizing abortion on August 20, 2019, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

A new study has suggested that women tend to feel relief, and not regret, after having an abortion. The popular narrative centering around abortion paints a picture of women experiencing negative emotions like sadness, guilt, and regret after getting an abortion but the new study debunks the myth and claims that most women are relieved to not go ahead with an unplanned pregnancy. The study noted that 95% of those surveyed felt that they had made the right decision immediately after the abortion. Within a span of five years, 99% of them felt they had taken the right decision. Over the past year, many celebrities have opened up about having abortions and on how it proved to one of the best decisions they had made. Jameela Jamil and Busy Philipps spoke about getting an abortion when they were starting out in their careers. Jameela Jamil, The Good Place actor called it the "best decision I have ever made." 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: A pro-choice placard is pictured during an early morning rally at Parliament House in support Of decriminalizing abortion on August 20, 2019, in Sydney, Australia. The Upper House of the NSW parliament will consider decriminalizing abortion when the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019 is introduced this afternoon. If the bill passes, it will remove abortion from the Crimes Act and will regulate it as a medical procedure, with extra safeguards for abortions after 22 weeks' gestation. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)


A study conducted by ANSIRH shows that while women might experience negative emotions immediately after the procedure, a majority feel they made the right decision in the long term. The researchers from the University of California at San Francisco analyzed the responses of 667 women from 30 different places in the United States about how abortion affects women physically, socially, emotionally and economically, according to a report by The Washington Post. All the women were asked about their feelings about having done the procedure. They were contacted at regular intervals, starting from one week to twice every year since then. 


The authors of the study said that they wanted to study the stigma surrounding abortion and how women viewed their decision with time. The study showed that emotions — good or bad — faded with time. “A really interesting finding is how the intensity of all emotions is so low,” said Corinne Rocca, lead author of the study. Of the women participating in the study, 51 percent found experienced positive emotions a week after getting an abortion. 17% said that they had experienced negative emotions while 20% said they didn't experience any strong feelings about terminating their pregnancy. The participants were contacted twice every year and around the five-year mark, more than 80% didn't harbor negative emotions. They were either positive or it didn't bother them much. 


Corinne Rocca said the study had also accounted for those with conservative opinions. “What this study is showing is that there is a small minority who do regret their abortions. I in no way want to reduce the struggles of those who regret their abortions, but it is misguided to take away the options for everyone based on this minority,” said Rocca.


The study busts the myth that women tend to experience strong negative emotions with time after terminating their pregnancy. All the claims that negative emotions will emerge over time, a myth that has persisted for decades without any evidence to substantiate these claims, it’s clear, it’s just not true,” said Rocca. The author added that relief was the strongest feeling women had. “One might think that relief was a short-term feeling that would go away after weeks, but it does not fade like other feelings. Relief was constant.” The study comes at a time when the conservative government aided by appointments in the Supreme Court was looking to pass stricter anti-abortion laws. 

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