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Risk Factors Identified by Pro-Choice Sources

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COMPLETE LIST OF RISK FACTORS IDENTIFIED IN THE 2008 APA TASK FORCE REPORT

(see pages 5, 11, and 92 of the Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion)

  1. terminating a pregnancy that is wanted or meaningful
  2. perceived pressure from others to terminate a pregnancy
  3. perceived opposition to the abortion from partners, family, and/or friends
  4. lack of perceived social support from others
  5. various personality traits (e.g., low self-esteem, a pessimistic outlook, low-perceived control over life)
  6. a history of mental health problems prior to the pregnancy
  7. feelings of stigma
  8. perceived need for secrecy
  9. exposure to antiabortion picketing
  10. use of avoidance and denial coping strategies
  11. Feelings of commitment to the pregnancy
  12. ambivalence about the abortion decision
  13. low perceived ability to cope with the abortion
  14. history of prior abortion
  15. late term abortion
  16. By parsing of the APA summary conclusion that "adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy," it also appears that the APA is identifying the following as risk factors
  • being an adolescent (not an adult)
  • having more than a "single" abortion
  • having a non-elective, "therapeutic" abortion


(For a more comprehensive list of risk factors for psychological reactions to abortion, see here.)

COMPLETE LIST OF RISK FACTORS IDENTIFIED IN THE NAF's "A Clinician's Guide to Medical and Surgical Abortion"

Predisposing Factors for Negative Reactions

(Excerpted from Chapter 3, p29 - Table 3-2.

  1. Low self-efficacy: expecting depression, severe grief or guilt, and regret after the abortion
  2. Low self-esteem prior to the abortion
  3. An existing mental illness or disorder prior to the abortion
  4. Significant ambivalence about the decision
  5. Lack of emotional support and receiving criticism from significant people in their lives
  6. Perceived coercion to have the abortion
  7. Belief that a fetus is the same as a 4-year-old human and that abortion is murder
  8. Fetal abnormality or other medical indications for the abortion
  9. Usual coping style is repressing thoughts or denial
  10. Unresolved past losses and perceptions of abortion as a loss
  11. Experiencing social stigma and antiabortion demonstrators on the day of the abortion
  12. Commitment to the pregnancy

Other Identified Risk Factors

(Excerpted from Chapter 5, "Medical Evaluation and Management")

  1. Prior History of anemeia, siezures, asthma, diabetes, mellitus, heart disease, infectious diseases, and conditions that necessitate chronic steroid use
  2. History of bleeding disorders
  3. Current symptoms of respiratory illness
  4. Current medications
  5. Medical allergies
  6. History of sexually transmitted disease
  7. Previous surgical procedures
  8. Previous history of induced abortion
  9. Recent or current substance abuse
  10. Previous reactions to anesthetics
  11. History of sexual abuse or domestic/partner violence
  12. History of contraceptive use
  13. History of cervical dysplasia
  14. Rho(D) antigen status
  15. Anatomic variation of the female genital tract
  16. Genital tract infection
  17. Urinary tract infection
  18. HIV infection or AIDS
  19. Hypertension