Transforming the way Canadians think about family
How abortion impacts mothers, families and our society
This paper examines research that is typically ignored about abortion’s effect on the family. The impact of abortion on marriage, sexuality, mental health and finally, family life in greater society are all considered. The paper reflects on the research through the story of Lee, one pro-choice woman for whom abortion had an unexpected effect as told in the book Giving Sorrow Words.
The effects of abortion on the family and society are secondary effects. Yet there are indeed consequences that remain substantially underpublicized—to our great detriment. These include an increased likelihood of divorce or separation, marrying late or not at all, increased acceptance of rape and increased risks of poor mental health, among others. A meta-analysis published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry showed an overall 81% greater risk of mental health problems for women who had an abortion compared with those who did not.
It is not helpful to overstate negative ramifications of abortion. However, by far the bigger concern Canadians face today is the problem of pretending there are none.
This paper aims to challenge the notion that abortion is an individual event, as presented in political mantras like “my body, my choice.” Abortion is hard on the woman, yes. However, an abortion is the result of relationship, regardless of how poor or short-lived. Therefore, examining the effects of abortion on family, relationships and our communities is important.
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