Previous studies have shown that women who are denied access to abortion face threats to their mental health. It’s also possible that forced motherhood could increase a person’s risk of abuse by a partner. Because pregnancy is a tremendous financial burden, forced motherhood may also increase a woman’s dependence on an abusive partner. In addition to violating a woman’s bodily autonomy, a common consideration in ethical debates, forcing women to carry children to term is dangerous.
In the US, you are much more likely to die from complications related to pregnancy; then you are to experience complications from an abortion. While the rate of deaths per live birth is 17.2 per 100,000, the likelihood of death following an abortion is less than one for every hundred thousand.
A new study suggests ways a woman may suffer in ways that previously had not been considered. Researchers found that five years after being denied an abortion, women were more likely to report persistent pain, chronic illness, and overall poor health. They were also more likely to report elevated numbers of headaches, joint pain, and high cholesterol. Increased rates of high cholesterol are particularly worrisome as this is a risk factor for heart disease, the number one killer worldwide.
There are other ways that being denied an abortion can influence a woman’s long-term health, like chronic stress. These considerations are especially important in light of a wave of effort from anti-choice groups. These groups frequently claim that abortion is dangerous for women. That claim is simply not supported by the data. In fact, science shows that the opposite is true, that forcing women into motherhood poses a far greater risk.
These health issues should sound alarms for conservatives concerned with overspending on health programs. The woman, being forced into a role they may not be prepared for, and their offspring, are undoubtedly placing more of a financial burden on the healthcare system than would comprehensive abortion and birth control measures. This dismantles a second argument from anti-abortion groups, which claim these programs are overly expensive.
Although more studies are needed into the impact of forced parenthood on woman, the evidence is clear that poverty, abuse, and poor health seem to be side effects for both mother and child.