"The predicted probability of reporting that abortion was the right decision was over 99% at all time points." Photo: Stocksy/Simone Becchetti
A new study out of the US pours water on the claim by anti-abortion campaigners that they're helping women avoid the trauma of post-abortion regret, after it found 99 per cent of respondents stood by their decision three years after terminating a pregnancy.
Researchers at the University of California recruited a cohort of more than 650 women who'd had terminations, half of whom in the first trimester and the other half within two weeks of the facility's gestational cut-off for abortions. These women then completed surveys on how they felt about their abortions twice a year for three years.
The result? "The predicted probability of reporting that abortion was the right decision was more than 99 per cent at all time points over three years," the researchers said, and they found "no differences between women having procedures near gestational age limits versus first-trimester abortions."
In fact, the main differences affecting how women felt about their abortions related to outside pressure. "Higher perceived community abortion stigma and lower social support were associated with more negative emotions," the researchers wrote. So the actions of anti-abortion activists who claim to have women's best interests at heart are actually having the opposite effect (big surprise there).
Women who'd had more planned pregnancies, and for whom the decision to terminate was difficult in the first place, were most likely to express regret.
Still, that only comes down to 1 per cent feeling regret at any one time during the study, which is an overwhelming result in favour of women's decision-making ability and a major shutdown of the spurious claim that abortion harms women's mental health.