December 1972

Psychosocial Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion in Young Unmarried Women

Author Affiliations

Berkeley, Calif
From the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(6):828-832. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750300090017

Postabortion courses of 22 unmarried pregnant women in middle and late adolescence, who successfully obtained therapeutic abortions under recently liberalized abortion statutes and practices are presented. They were intensively studied at five to seven months postabortion. Nine were interviewed again at 12 to 14 months.

They exhibited a wide range of postabortion courses. Half were doing well without real psychic disruption, maintaining, recovering, or even surpassing their previous levels of psychosocial functioning. Seven showed decline in functioning from previous adequate levels; one (aborted for physical reasons) suffered a moderate depression; and three with histories of long-standing marginal psychosocial functioning continued in poor psychological health, seeming to be unable to bring closure to the experience. Implications for ameliorative interventions and social policy for these various at-risk groups are outlined.