Abortion Risks for Women

Abortion Risks and Complications 

Research on some of the health risks of abortion for women–higher mortality rate, breast cancer, mental health risk–is shown below.

You, a friend or someone you love may currently be facing the challenges of an unexpected pregnancy and looking for help and information in order to make a wise decision on what to do, or this might be information that you can file away for the future. 

While women often hear, or are told, that abortion is safe, the dangerous reality is that is not always the case. There are risks and complications associated with abortion, both physical and emotional, some even serious or fatal. 

The following are possible risks and complications from various types of abortions: 


Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea 

Severe pain or cramps 

High fever 

Serious bleeding 

Passing clots larger than a lemon 


Transfusion required 

Hospitalization required 


Surgery when part of the baby is not fully expelled from the womb 

Second surgery to remove parts of the pregnancy that remained in the womb after surgical abortion Damage or injury to the womb 

Injury to the cervix (entrance to the womb) 

Infection which could risk your fertility and future pregnancies 

Increased risk of preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg grows outside the uterus) 

Sepsis from infection leading to possible death 



Women who experience negative emotions after an abortion have reported the following reactions: 


Guilt or shame 

Emotional numbing 


Nightmares or flashbacks of the abortion 

Thoughts of self-harm 

Alcohol or drug abuse 

Suicidal thoughts 

Post-Abortion Stress Symptoms (PAS) 

Alcohol/drug abuse 





Emotional pain 

Feelings of loss 


Inability to forgive 

Intimacy issues 


Low self-esteem 



Repeated abortions 



Suicidal thoughts 

Negative emotions may surface soon after an abortion or many years later. Although women likely experience post-abortion stress at a deeper level, biological fathers may also be negatively impacted. 

Secondary Losses From Abortion 

Although the actual procedure of abortion is performed on the woman, the abortion decision ripples far beyond to: 

The friend who drove her to the hospital or clinic 

The biological father who emotionally coerced her to abort 

The mother or father who demanded their daughter to abort 

The biological father who is not given a voice to save his child 

The brother or sister who never got to know their sibling 

The grandparents who never got to spoil their grandchild 


You have other OPTIONS 

There is HELP 

You are NOT ALONE 


Health Impacts of Abortion on Women

Mental Health

Here are examples of research on the negative impacts of abortion on women’s health. Doubtless for each one, the abortion industry has commissioned dozens of rebuttal research projects or syntheses. This first one reviews 14 years of research studies and finds overall an “81 per cent increased risk” in mental health problems for women who have had an abortion. There is a link to the online article at the bottom.

Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

By Priscilla K. Coleman



Given the methodological limitations of recently published qualitative reviews of abortion and mental health, a quantitative synthesis was deemed necessary to represent more accurately the published literature and to provide clarity to clinicians.


To measure the association between abortion and indicators of adverse mental health, with subgroup effects calculated based on comparison groups (no abortion, unintended pregnancy delivered, pregnancy delivered) and particular outcomes. A secondary objective was to calculate population-attributable risk (PAR) statistics for each outcome.


After the application of methodologically based selection criteria and extraction rules to minimise bias, the sample comprised 22 studies, 36 measures of effect and 877 181 participants (163 831 experienced an abortion). Random effects pooled odds ratios were computed using adjusted odds ratios from the original studies and PAR statistics were derived from the pooled odds ratios.


Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion. The strongest subgroup estimates of increased risk occurred when abortion was compared with term pregnancy and when the outcomes pertained to substance use and suicidal behaviour.


This review offers the largest quantitative estimate of mental health risks associated with abortion available in the world literature. Calling into question the conclusions from traditional reviews, the results revealed a moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after abortion. Consistent with the tenets of evidence-based medicine, this information should inform the delivery of abortion services.


Review article


The British Journal of Psychiatry Volume 199 Issue 3 , September 2011 , pp. 180 – 186

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230[Opens in a new window]


Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2011
Here is another study in the same vein.The link is at the bottom.

Abortion, substance abuse and mental health in early adulthood: Thirteen-year longitudinal evidence from the United States


Objective: To examine the links between pregnancy outcomes (birth, abortion, or involuntary pregnancy loss) and mental health outcomes for US women during the transition into adulthood

to determine the extent of increased risk, if any, associated with exposure to induced abortion.

Method: Panel data on pregnancy history and mental health history for a nationally representative cohort of 8005 women at (average) ages 15, 22, and 28 years from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health were examined for risk of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, cannabis abuse, and nicotine dependence by pregnancy outcome (birth, abortion, and involuntary pregnancy loss). Risk ratios were estimated for time-dynamic outcomes from population-averaged longitudinal logistic and Poisson regression models.

Results: After extensive adjustment for confounding, other pregnancy outcomes, and sociodemographic differences, abortion was consistently associated with increased risk of mental health disorder. Overall risk was elevated 45% (risk ratio, 1.45; 95% confidence interval, 1.30-1.62; p < 0.0001). Risk of mental health disorder with pregnancy loss was mixed, but also elevated 24% (risk ratio, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 1.13-1.37; p < 0.0001) overall. Birth was weakly associated with reduced mental disorders. One-eleventh (8.7%; 95% confidence interval, 6.0-11.3) of the prevalence of mental disorders examined over the period were attributable to abortion.

Conclusion: Evidence from the United States confirms previous findings from Norway and New Zealand that, unlike other pregnancy outcomes, abortion is consistently associated with a moderate increase in risk of mental health disorders during late adolescence and early adulthood.

Keywords: Abortion; longitudinal data; mental health; pregnancy outcomes; substance abuse.


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Increased Mortality

Finland’s very complete records from their socialized medical system reveal a much high mortality rate for women  after an abortion than for the comparable female population

The following description comes from the pro-life Ruth Institute. Nobody has ever claimed Finland’s researchers are pro-life. “Since Finland has socialized medical care, these records are very accurate and complete. In this fashion, the STAKES [ acronym of the permanent Finnish medical research team] researchers identified 281 women who had died within a year of their last pregnancy. The unadjusted mortality rate per 100,000 cases was 27 for women who had given birth, 48 for women who had miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, and 101 for women who had abortions.

The researchers then calculated the age-adjusted odds ratio of death, using the death rate of women who had not been pregnant as the standard equal to one. Table 1 shows that the age-adjusted odds ratio of women dying in the year they give birth as being half that of women who are not pregnant, whereas women who have abortions are 76 percent more likely to die in the year following abortion compared to non-pregnant women.”

Deaths from Suicide

“Using a subset of the same data, STAKES researchers had previously reported that the risk of death from suicide within the year of an abortion was more than seven times higher than the risk of suicide within a year of childbirth.(2) Two of these suicides were also connected with infanticide. Examples of post-abortion suicide/infanticide attempts have also been documented in the United States.(3)

The same finding was reported in STAKES’ more recent study. Among the 281 women who died within a year of their last pregnancy, 77 (27 percent) had committed suicide. Figure 2 shows the age-adjusted odds ratio for suicide for the three pregnancy groups compared to the “no pregnancy” control group.

had committed suicide. Figure 2 shows the age-adjusted odds ratio for suicide for the three pregnancy groups compared to the “no pregnancy” control group.

  1. Gissler, M., et. al., “Pregnancy-associated deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecolgica Scandinavica76:651-657 (1997).
  2. Mika Gissler, Elina Hemminki, Jouko Lonnqvist, “Suicides after pregnancy in Finland: 1987-94: register linkage study” British Medical Journal313:1431-4, 1996.
  3. McFadden, A., “The Link Between Abortion and Child Abuse,” Family Resources Center News(January 1998) 20.”

Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

This subject is easily as hotly debated among pro-life and pro-abortion researchers as post abortion mortality rates. Chinese mega studies have long provided the data supporting the link between abortion and breast cancer. These studies began well before the Chinese government began easing its requirement that women have no more than one baby.

“A meta-analysis of the association between induced abortion and breast cancer risk among Chinese females

Review published: 2014.

Bibliographic details: Huang Y, Zhang X, Li W, Song F, Dai H, Wang J, Gao Y, Liu X, Chen C, Yan Y, Wang Y, Chen K.  A meta-analysis of the association between induced abortion and breast cancer risk among Chinese females. Cancer Causes and Control 2014; 25(2): 227-236. [PubMed]


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between induced abortion (IA) and breast cancer risk among Chinese females.

METHODS: We searched three English databases (PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Wiley) and three Chinese databases (CNKI, WanFang, and VIP) for studies up to December 2012, supplemented by manual searches. Two reviewers independently conducted the literature searching, study selection, and data extraction and quality assessment of included studies. Random effects models were used to estimate the summary odds ratios (ORs) and the 95 % confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: A total of 36 articles (two cohort studies and 34 case-control studies) covering 14 provinces in China were included in this review. Compared to people without any history of IA, an increased risk of breast cancer was observed among females who had at least one IA (OR = 1.44, 95 % CI 1.29-1.59, I (2) = 82.6 %, p < 0.001, n = 34). No significant publication bias was found among the included studies (Egger test, p = 0.176). The risk increased to 1.76 (95 % CI 1.39-2.22) and 1.89 (95 % CI 1.40-2.55) for people who had at least two IAs and at least three IAs, respectively. Subgroup analyses showed similar results to the primary results. Meta-regression analysis of the included studies found that the association between IA and breast cancer risk attenuated with increasing percent of IA in the control group (β = -0.022, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: IA is significantly associated with an increased risk of breast cancer among Chinese females, and the risk of breast cancer increases as the number of IA increases. If IA were to be confirmed as a risk factor for breast cancer, high rates of IA in China may contribute to increasing breast cancer rates.

Copyright © 2014 University of York.”