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Abortion Hurts Women

Among the primary individuals hurt by abortion are the women who undergo the process. Their babies, the other primary victims of abortion, are also victims of immense pain, but this section is focused on the myriad of ways that women are affected by abortion's sting. Citations for all of this information are included at the bottom of the page. If you have questions about any of the statistics we have provided, please feel free to reach out to us. Abortion hurts women:


Abortion Hurts Women Physically

Women Who Report Experiencing Pain During Abortion¹

Common ​sensations during an abortion²

  • pressure

  • cramping (mild/severe)

  • sucking and pulling

  • scraping

  • contractions worse than labor

  • nausea

Women Reporting Immediate Complications after Abortions³

Women Reporting Major Immediate Complications after Abortions

Top 9 physical complications experienced by post-abortive women

  • major infection

  • excessive bleeding

  • embolism (obstruction of artery by blood clot or air bubble)

  • ripping or perforation of uterus

  • anesthesia complications

  • convulsions (sudden, violent, irregular movement of a limb or of the body, caused by involuntary contraction of muscles)

  • hemorrhage (an escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel)

  • cervical injury (injury in passage forming lower end of uterus)

  • septic/endotoxic shock (organ injury or damage in response to infection leading to dangerously low blood pressure and abnormatilities in cellular metabolism)

Women Acquiring Post-Abortion Infections Lasting 3 Days or Longer

Women with Cervical Lacerations after First-Trimester Abortion

Number of Physical Complications Associated with Abortion

"Minor" complications include

  • minor infections

  • bleeding

  • fevers

  • chronic abdominal pain

  • gastro-intestinal disturbances

  • vomiting

  • Rh sensitization


Abortion Hurts Women Emotionally and Psychologically

Abortion initially leaves women with a feeling of relief, but that feeling commonly fades into​¹⁰

  • emotional paralysis

  • emotional numbness

  • a feeling of being out of touch with reality

  • stress

Women Who Report Negative Reactions the First Weeks after Abortion¹¹

Women Expressing Guilt

8 Weeks or More After Abortion¹²

Women Facing Nervous Disorders 8 Weeks or More After Abortion¹³

Women Experiencing Sleep Disorders 8 Weeks or More After Abortion¹⁴

Women Experiencing Regrets 8 Weeks or More After Abortion¹⁵

Women with Serious Psychiatric Complications Because of Abortion¹⁶

Symptoms specifically affecting post-abortive teenagers include¹⁷

  • self-reproach

  • depression

  • social regression

  • withdrawal

  • obsession with desire to conceive again

  • hasty marriages

Women Expressing Feelings of "Self-Hatred" after Abortion-Related Trauma¹⁸

Women Reporting Suicidal Ideation after Abortion¹⁹

Women Reporting Attempting Suicide Once After Abortion²⁰

Women Reporting Attempting Suicide Two or More Times After Abortion²¹

Women who abort

  • have a six times higher rate of suicide than those who carry to term²²

  • (for teenage women) have a ten times higher rate of suicide than non-abortive teens²³

The most common major psychological problems experienced by post-abortive women²⁴

  • depression

  • loss of self-esteem

  • self-destructive behavior

  • sleep disorders

  • memory loss

  • sexual dysfunction

  • chronic problems with relationships

  • dramatic personality changes

  • anxiety attacks

  • guilt and remorse

  • difficulty grieving

  • increased tendency towards violence

  • chronic crying

  • difficulty concentrating

  • flashbacks

  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities or people

  • difficulty bonding with later children

Long Term

Abortion Hurts Women in the Long Term

Risk of Death in Later Pregnancies for Post-Abortive Women²⁵

Women Left Inadvertently Sterile after an Abortion²⁶

Women with Symptoms of Cervical Incompetence after Forced Dilation for Abortion²⁷

Risk of Miscarriage, Premature Birth, and Labor Complications in Later Pregnancies²⁸

Women Losing "Wanted" Pregnancies Each Year after Prior Abortion²⁹

Women with Complications in Later Pregnancies due to First Pregnancy Abortion³⁰

Annual Cases of Newborn Cerebral Palsy due to Latent Abortion Morbidity³¹

In later pregnancies, prior abortions can result in the following conditions which may also contribute to newborn handicaps³²

  • premature births

  • labor complications

  • abnormal placenta development

  • higher miscarriage rate

Women Reporting Drug Abuse after an Abortion-Related Trauma³³

Women Who Began Using or Increased Use of Alcohol after an Abortion-Related Trauma³⁴

Women Describing Themselves as "Addicted" or "Alcoholic" after Abortion³⁵

Women Reporting Sexual Dysfunction Beginning Immediately after Abortion³⁶

Abortion can also hurt a woman's long term plans and goals.

While women may consider abortion because they plan in the future to marry and have a family, having an abortion increases the likelihood that they will never marry, or that the marriage they had planned for will fail.³⁷


Abortion Hurts Women Spiritually

"I have had three unplanned pregnancies. I aborted my first baby at 8 weeks and the second at about 20 weeks. [Then,] I miscarried at 20 weeks.... I didn't believe I had any right to grieve the loss of this baby, let alone the two I aborted. For 30 years I carried the guilt of abortion, and was convinced God wanted to punish me."³⁸

-Becky, MD, United States

The feelings were dark, painful, lonely and empty. I knew nobody in the building really cared about me and no alternatives were offered. I was so far from God and feeling so alone in the world. I ignored the undeniable fact that I was carrying a beautiful miracle of life inside me. I did NOT walk in exercising my reproductive right. I walked in broken and trying to cover up my guilt and walked out even more broken and guilty."³⁹

-Julie, RI, United States

"Immediately following my abortion I started to suffer from depression. My boyfriend and I broke up and my life became a living hell. Drugs and alcohol became my friends. I hated myself and I thought God hated me too. I disconnected myself from him, never thinking he would forgive me for what I did."⁴⁰

-Cheryl, NJ, United States


  1. Smith, et al., "Pain of First-Trimester Abortion: Its Quantification and Relations with Other Variables," American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (March 1, 1979), vol. 133, no. 5, pp. 489–498.

  2. CompassCare, "Do Abortions Hurt?" CompassCare, 30 Aug. 2011.

  3. Frank,, "Induced Abortion Operations and Their Early Sequelae," Journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners (April 1985), vol. 35, no. 73, pp. 175-180.

  4. Grimes and Cates, "Abortion: Methods and Complications," Human Reproduction, 2nd ed., pp. 796-813.

  5. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More, Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987.

  6. Stallworthy, "Legal Abortion, A Critical Assessment of Its Risks," The Lancet (December 4, 1971), pp. 1245-1249.

  7. Wilke, Handbook on Abortion, Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing Company, 1979.

  8. Reardon, Aborted Women.

  9. Reardon, Aborted Women.

  10. Kent,, “Emotional Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion: A Comparative Study”, presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association at Saskatoon, Sept. 1977.

  11. Ashton, “The Psychosocial Outcome of Induced Abortion”, British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. (1980), vol. 87, pp. 1115-1122.

  12. Ashton, "The Psychosocial Outcome."

  13. Ashton, "The Psychosocial Outcome."

  14. Ashton, "The Psychosocial Outcome."

  15. Ashton, "The Psychosocial Outcome."

  16. Friedman,, "The Decision-Making Process and the Outcome of Therapeutic Abortion," American Journal of Psychiatry (December 12, 1974), vol. 131,pp. 1332-1337.

  17. Wallerstein,, "Psychosocial Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion in Young Unmarried Women," Archives of General Psychiatry (1972), vol. 27.

  18. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients: Analysis of An In-Depth Survey of 100 Aborted Women," Presented at the 1987 Paper Session of the Association for Interdisciplinary Research at Denver, 1987.

  19. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  20. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  21. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  22. Gissler, M., Karalis, E., Ulander, V. M., "Suicide Rate After Induced Abortion Decreased in Finland After Current Care Guidelines," The European Journal of Public Health, October 2014.

  23. Garfinkel, B., et al., "Stress, Depression and Suicide: A Study of Adolescents in Minnesota," Responding to High Risk Youth, University of Minnesota: Minnesota Extension Service, 1986.

  24. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  25. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More, Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987.

  26. Wynn and Wynn, “Some Consequences of Induced Abortion to Children Born Subsequently”, British Medical Journal (March 3, 1973), and Foundation for Education and Research in Child Bearing (London, 1972).

  27. Wren, “Cervical Incompetence—Aetiology and Management”, Medical Journal of Australia (December 29, 1973), vol. 60

  28. Hogue, ”Impact of Abortion on Subsequent Fecundity”, Clinics in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (March 1986), vol. 13, no. 1.

  29. Reardon, Aborted Women.

  30. Lembrych, “Fertility Problems Following Aborted First Pregnancy”, eds. Hilgers,, New Perspectives on Human Abortion (Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1981).

  31. Wynn and Wynn, “Some Consequences."

  32. Hogue, Cates and Tietze, “Impact of Vacuum Aspiration Abortion on Future Childbearing: A Review”, Family Planning Perspectives (May-June 1983), vol. 15, no. 3.

  33. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  34. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  35. Reardon, "Criteria for the Identification of High Risk Abortion Patients."

  36. Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion, New York: Random House, 1978.

  37. Lanfranchi, A., Gentles, I., Ring-Cassidy, E, Complications, Toronto: deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research, 2013.

  38. Becky. "I Cannot Be Silent." Silent No More Awareness Campaign, 2018,

  39. Julie. "Julie's 2018 March for Life Testimony." Silent No More Awareness Campaign, 2018,

  40. Cheryl. "Cheryl's 2018 March for Life Testimony." Silent No More Awareness Campaign, 2018,

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