A new study to be published in the December 2010 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health finds that there is no link between abortion or low self-esteem in teens who choose to have an abortion. Despite these findings, a continued assumption that abortion causes rampant negative ramifications in a woman’s life has continued, as demonstrated by the 34 states who require some form of counseling before a woman can receive an abortion. In fact, in the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision to uphold the ban on “partial- birth abortions,” Justice Kennedy wrote, “While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort … Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.” But the Guttmacher Institute findings further support a study completed by the APA a few years ago that also came to the same conclusion about adult women. The best predicator for depression after having an abortion was, shockingly, having had previous experiences with depression.
A new study shows that abortion rates around the world have dropped from around 42 million in 1996 to just about 42 million in 2003. The report, released by the Guttmacher Institute, states that the reason that most abortions are down is due in part to the option of contraception being utilized more frequently by women and their partners.
However, the same study states that although abortions are dropping in frequency, the mortality rates for women who do go undergo abortions — primarily in countries where the procedure is illegal — are still dying at alarming rates. The current figure states that almost 70,000 women a year succumb to abortion complications and die shortly thereafter.
The report also relates some striking information, which, I suppose only makes sense if you really take the time to consider it: the more abortion is outlawed, the higher the risk is that a woman will go to extreme measures in order to have an abortion served to her, whether by her own hand or by undereducated individuals in unsafe settings. The Guttmacher report states that “total abortions occurred at roughly equal rates” in countries where they were legal and where they were highly restricted as well, which does clearly prompt women to go to extreme measures and throw all caution to the wind.