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Fact: It is rare for women to suffer long-term emotional problems after having an abortion–in fact, studies show that the rate of post-partum depression (depression after childbirth) is higher than the rate of serious depression after abortion. However, anti-choice activists have invented "post abortion syndrome", and claim women who have had an abortion suffer from a set of emotional symptoms such as sever depression, anxiety, and guilt, in order to scare women and prevent them from choosing abortion. In 1989, the American Psychological Association convened a panel that found no evidence that such a condition exists. Instead, they found most women experience the most stress before choosing abortion. Every women and every situation is different. You might experience a range of emotions after the procedure. Some women feel relief or a sense that they did the right thing after having an abortion. Others may feel anger, guilt, or sadness for a short time after having an abortion. Anti-choice activists have also sought to attack women's rights to choose by offering so-called "post-abortion counseling" that promotes anger against the health care provider, rather than helping women explore their feelings about their situation in an unbiased, supportive atmosphere. Exhale, a San Francisco-based group, offers unbiased post-abortion counseling to women nationwide. They can be reached at 1-866-4-EXHALE or at http://www.4exhale.org.
Fact: Pain management is used in all abortions. Most women experience cramping similar to menstrual cramps during the abortion, especially during a medical abortion. For surgical abortion, you will be offered some type of anesthesia to minimize pain during the procedure. For medication abortions, you will be offered pain-relievers that reduce cramping. Women who have had an abortion report very different levels of discomfort: some say it is quite uncomfortable, some say it is moderate, and some experience very little discomfort.
Fact: In 2003, the National Cancer Institute brought together a panel of 100 of the world's experts on women's health to evaluate the alleged link between abortion and breast cancer. They looked at dozens of studies on the subject that have been conducted since 1981 and found that the scientific evidence clearly demonstrated that there is no association between abortion and increased breast cancer risk. Unfortunately, anti-choice activists have tried to scare women into thinking there is a link in order to prevent them from choosing abortion.
Fact: Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures performed in the United States, and one of the safest. The risk of complications such as heavy bleeding or infection is less than 1 percent. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 88 percent of women who seek an abortion do so before 13 weeks of gestation. Of these women, 97 percent have no complications, 2.5 percent have minor complications that can easily be treated in the office, and less than 0.5 percent experience serious complications that require surgery or hospitalization. The risk of death is very small: one death per 500,000 legal abortions before 8 weeks. The risk of death associated with childbirth is actually eleven times higher than the risk associated with abortion.