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The Abortion Debate & Women


Based on statistical analysis conducted on data obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, Hamilton and Ventura (2006: 34-45), stated that at the turn of this century, there were approximately 21.3 induced abortions being performed in the United States for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years old, a figure that was down from the 27.4 abortions per 1,000 women of this same age that were performed in 1990. On the other hand, it is noted that while the overall rate is down, there is considerable variance by age and ethnic background with rates increasing strongly for women under 25 years of age and for African-Americans.

However, while abortion rates may have decreased, the controversy over abortion has not. This argument, according to Trupin (2003: 561-580) centers around the idea of the rights of the fetus as a human life and the rights of a woman to control her reproductive life (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 2005: 1-6). While clearly religious questions cannot be resolved, it has been argued by some that the consequences of the procedure to the psychoemotional health of the woman is itself a major reason to revisit abortion law. The purpose of this paper is to examine the current literature on the psychological and emotional consequences of abortion in order to determine whether it supports this claim.

Empirical Literature: The Psychological and Emotional Consequences of Abortion To The Mother

Cougle, Reardon and Coleman (2005: 137-142) observed some negative impact on the mother following an abortion. Specifically, the authors reported that their study showed that women who resolve unwanted pregnancies through childbirth are, in the following year, subject to far less anxiety following childbirth than are women who resolve unwanted pregnancies through abortion. However, the authors


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