What’s normal to feel when deciding to have an abortion?
Despite the stigma that still exists around choosing to terminate a pregnancy, abortion is actually quite common. Approximately 25% of all pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. The stigma that persists makes it tough to find accurate and truthful information about what it’s like to make the decision.
As an abortion care provider in Canada, I’m often asked, “is it normal to feel ______?” (plug in a vast array of feeling words here). There is the assumption that choosing to have an abortion will be an extremely difficult and emotional decision, but that’s not always the case. Yes, it can be an emotional decision, and for some people and some pregnancies it is a very stressful time. But for others, it’s not at all, and that is totally ok, and yes, normal!
The truth is that there is a mixture of both positive and negative emotions one may feel when deciding to have an abortion:
- **An absence of emotion is normal too!
Feelings of regret didn’t make this list because while there are certainly people who feel regret about their decision to have an abortion, we know that is an extremely small number as most women do not regret their decision to have an abortion. 99% of those sampled in this longitudinal study consistently reported that abortion was the right decision for them over a period of 3 years.
Regardless of whether emotions are positive or negative people may need time to move through their emotions and feel them. Even those who feel confident in their decision to have an abortion may feel that this is a loss they need to grieve - and that is all completely normal.
Some of the more common negative emotions I hear from my clients relate not to their decision to terminate a pregnancy, but their fear of judgment from others. Sometimes my clients express guilt for how easy the decision was for them. They feel satisfied with their decision, but are afraid of judgment from others about the ease with which they made their decision.
To combat this stigma and normalize a medical procedure that ⅓ of Canadian women will undergo in their lifetime you might want to check out some of these awesome sites detailing abortion stories: Shout your abortion, Project Voice, My Abortion My Life.
Getting the facts on abortion can be tough with all the misinformation about there. For reliable, evidence-based resources and information on abortion, look here: Options for Sexual Health,