Women facing an unplanned pregnancy can either carry the pregnancy to term (parent or make an adoption plan) or they can have an abortion which ends the pregnancy. This is a very difficult choice for many women. In a woman’s mind, all of her options have some advantages and disadvantages that she must sort through so that she can make an informed decision about what to do and make a plan for moving forward. Often a woman’s first thought is to have a “quick” abortion and be done with it. That way no one has to know about it and she can pretend the pregnancy never happened. In rarer circumstances a woman may have a baby diagnosed with a birth defect or even a terminal condition and choose abortion over caring for a disabled baby.
Abortion ends the pregnancy by ending the life of the unborn baby. This is done with medication in early pregnancy or with a surgical procedure later on. Most women would never want to have an abortion in their lifetime. When they realize they are unexpectedly pregnant, fears and concerns can overwhelm them. It is human nature to want a quick and easy way out when we are faced with something difficult. A woman who chooses abortion often can’t see past her fears about the pregnancy to see any hope on the other side. She is afraid of the changes that a pregnancy will bring into her life…afraid of losing her boyfriend, disappointing parents or family, being kicked out, being embarrassed, not being able to finish school, being responsible for a child, afraid of the unknown and afraid of change.
The benefit most women seek in abortion is to end the pregnancy. Many hope to pretend the pregnancy never happened and to go back to their current lifestyle without any changes. They hope to avoid many of their fears… but there is a cost.
Some of the costs of abortion besides the monetary cost include potential medical complications, future reproductive health concerns, and future mental and emotional health complications. A woman must understand and weigh the costs carefully before choosing abortion.
First, because abortion is a medical procedure there are some associated medical risks and potential complications. According to the Elliot Institute, ”The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock. The most common “minor” complications include: infection, bleeding, fever, second degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastro-intestinal disturbances, and Rh sensitization.” Other physical health risks include an increased chance for future preterm delivery, increased risk for breast cancer, damage to the uterus, and in rare cases, women have even died from having an abortion.
In addition to the physical risks, a woman who has an abortion also has to deal with the emotional aftermath. There are ethical and emotional concerns that she needs to understand before she walks down such a difficult path. A woman may be disappointed with herself for choosing an abortion if it goes against her beliefs. She may wonder how things might have been different if she had not had an abortion. Women who have an abortion do experience emotional pain from the loss their aborted baby. A woman may not understand or realize her loss right away, but over time when the due date comes and goes she may begin to have thoughts and questions about her baby. She may wonder if the baby would have been a boy or a girl. Little triggers such as seeing children play can make her think of how old her baby would be right now. Pregnant relatives and even the birth of her own very wanted child later in life can all bring about a flood of thoughts and feelings she didn’t even know she still had buried deep in her heart. Loss brings about feelings of grief. When she is confronted with those feelings she can either stuff away those trigger thoughts before they hurt or she can allow herself to feel and grieve. The grief is often complicated by guilt and regret. Right after the abortion many women convince themselves they made the best decision and try to push it out of their mind. But grief and hurt that is buried under a shell can fester and come out in other ways like depression, broken relationships, and anger. True Care offers an abortion recovery and healing program for women who are struggling with guilt and regret from having an abortion.
When a woman experiences an unwanted pregnancy, sometimes no option sounds good. Our desire at True Care is that we would be able to help women get all the information and resources they need to make the very best decision they can in a difficult situation. We provide a confidential, non judgmental caring environment to explore a woman’s options. We want our patients to leave with hope and confidence for their future.