By: Silvia DiPaola, Contributing Writer
Abortion, or the early termination of a pregnancy, can be a touchy subject for some; the debate between pro-life (against abortion rights) and pro-choice (supporting abortion rights) ensues on the daily. A great deal of misinformation about abortion tends to be put out during these arguments by both sides. Here, any misconceptions about the abortion process will be cleared up.
Several myths and misconceptions related to abortion have been commonly heard and deemed as truth when they are not. For one, some women may try to use different kinds of herbs and other crude methods to abort a fetus, which may place both in a dangerous position. This is a particularly common practice in India and some impoverished countries. Many herbal and other unorthodox methods may not even be effective for their intended goal, and some may even cause harm to the woman in question. If you or someone you know is considering receiving an abortion, it is best to speak with a trusted healthcare provider for possible next steps to take. While one does not need to go to the hospital to get an abortion, it is important to consult a doctor about it to make an informed decision and receive the procedure safely.
Another common myth about abortions is that the process is very painful; this is somewhat incorrect. While the pain will vary by the individual, it is normal and expected to experience some bleeding and cramping, which can become strong. The pain in general is said to feel like strong period cramps. However, one will receive pain and numbing medications to make it hurt less during the process. A healthcare provider will advise the person to take pain relief medications later on if the cramps become too severe. Even though there may be some cramping afterward, most women are back to their normal routines by the next day.
Another common misconception is that abortion almost always causes long-term psychological or emotional problems. Different women will feel differently towards their abortions, but evidence has suggested that most women feel relief after having it done. Those who are well-informed about the process and have strong support systems typically will not have any emotional or psychological trauma afterward. If it was a difficult decision to make, some women may feel sad or have negative feelings about it in the short-term. However, teenagers who received an abortion were no more likely than their peers to suffer from depression or low self-esteem in the year following or 5 years after. Even so, every person is different and will have their own unique experiences following an abortion. There is a higher risk of negative psychological effects when a woman wishes to have an abortion but is refused one than if she is provided with empathetic abortion care. Thus, it is crucial to have access to compassionate resources to help with decision-making, as well as a strong support system available after one receives an abortion.
Some may believe that abortion is correlated with adverse health effects. This may include infertility and/or breast cancer risks; however, neither has been shown to be impacted by abortion. Abortions have been found in multiple studies to not be correlated with infertility risks. The same concept applies to breast cancer risks. Meta-analyses of medical literature have shown that neither miscarriages nor abortions increase one’s risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Moreover, some may claim that abortions cause damage to the uterine (uterus) wall, but studies have shown that only 0.5% of abortions result in some sort of complications, and these usually consist of minor, treatable infections.
These are some common abortion myths and misconceptions that may prevent one from receiving accurate information on the topic. It is important to note that the above misconceptions of abortions and their clarifications only apply to safe abortions done in an authorized clinic or medical setting. Illegal or unsafe abortion practices can have devastating effects on a woman’s health. Physical damage and infertility issues can occur when one undergoes an unsafe abortion. This is why one should never try to induce an abortion themselves or go to a provider who practices unorthodox methods. It is crucial to have an authorized healthcare provider inform you about the abortion process as a whole. Knowledge is power. This way, you will know that you are making the right, well-informed decision for yourself on whether or not to have an abortion.