Frequently Asked Questions about Abortion

By OBOS Abortion Contributors | March 28, 2014

There’s a great deal of misinformation about abortion; in some cases, abortion rights opponents have intentionally spread myths. What follows are the facts.

Is having an abortion safe?

Having an abortion is safe, and very few women experience complications. Having an abortion poses fewer risks to a woman than going through pregnancy and birth.

It’s estimated that about nine out of 100,000 women in the U.S. die during pregnancy or birth, while fewer than one in 100,000 women who has an abortion does so. Complications including hemorrhage, infection, and mental health conditions are also more common among women who give birth than among those who have abortions.

Will having an abortion affect my ability to get pregnant in the future?

Uncomplicated abortion poses virtually no risk to a woman’s future reproductive health, as shown by numerous studies. Very rarely, a serious pelvic infection can cause damage to the fallopian tubes, which can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy or fertility problems. You can decrease this risk by seeking prompt treatment if symptoms of infection occur.

Does having an abortion increase my risk of breast cancer?

No. In 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of more than a hundred experts from around the world to evaluate the research. These experts concluded that “induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk.” The NCI’s follow-up reviews and analyses continue to support this conclusion.

Do women who have had an abortion suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, “post-abortion syndrome”, or “post-abortion stress syndrome”?

No. In spite of claims by abortion rights opponents that women who have abortions are at risk of “post-abortion syndrome” (PAS) or “post-abortion stress syndrome” (PASS), no such syndrome is recognized by any mainstream professional organization.

Women who have had an abortion most frequently report relief, positive emotions, and decreased stress after an abortion. Some women also feel sadness and loss after an abortion, as well as anger, confusion, shame, and guilt, even when they know they’ve made the best decision. Abortion is not associated with long-term psychological distress.