The aim of the study was to elucidate ambivalence in relation to legal abortion by studying emotions, attitudes, motives for abortion and ethical reasoning in a strategic sample of women and men who, 1 year after abortion, expressed both positive and painful feelings in relation to the abortion. The study shows that social perspectives legitimate the decision to have an abortion whilst ethical perspectives complicate the decision. Nearly all women and men described having the abortion as an expression of responsibility. Almost one-half also had parallel feelings of guilt, as they regarded the abortion as a violation of their ethical values. The majority of the sample expressed relief while simultaneously experiencing the termination of the pregnancy as a loss coupled with feelings of grief/emptiness. In spite of the ambivalence, only one woman regretted the abortion. For the vast majority, the impact of the abortion had led to increased maturity and deepened self-knowledge. Thus, ambivalence might be regarded not only as problematic but also as indicating openness to the complexity of the abortion issue. Since incompatible values clash in connection with abortion, experiences of ambivalence become both logical and understandable.
BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of abortion on contraceptive use, partner relationship and sexual satisfaction. METHODS: In a longitudinal study, 58 women answered a pre-abortion questionnaire and participated in two interviews, one in connection with the abortion and a second 1 year later. RESULTS: Most women (40/58) had retained the same partner 1 year after the abortion. More than half of these (22/40) experienced no change in the quality of the partner relationship, while the rest (18/40) had deepened their relationship. Furthermore, the majority of the women (45/58) had not experienced any negative influence on their sexual satisfaction. Most women who were sexually active 1 year post-abortion (42/47) used some contraceptive method; the number who used hormonal methods or intrauterine devices had, for example, increased from four to 35, although one-third of them had been doubtful about these methods before abortion. Conversely, 15 women had tried these methods during the follow-up year but had not continued because of negative effects. Overall, contraceptive use 1 year post-abortion had increased. CONCLUSIONS: To achieve well-founded decisions about contraceptives, counsellors should be aware of women's ambivalence about the use of modern, effective contraceptive methods. In order to prevent abortion it is important to discuss gender differences in sexual behaviour and encourage communication with both sexes about the pros and cons of coitus-dependent and coitus-independent methods.
This study was conducted to increase knowledge about the psychosocial background and current living conditions of Swedish women seeking abortion, along with their motives for abortion and their feelings towards pregnancy and abortion. Two hundred and eleven women answered a questionnaire when they consulted the gynaecologist for the first time. The study indicates that legal abortion may be sought by women in many circumstances and is not confined to those in special risk groups. For example, most women in the sample were living in stable relationships with adequate finances. The motives behind a decision to postpone or limit the number of children revealed a wish to have children with the right partner and at the right time in order to combine good parenting with professional career. The study shows that prevailing expectations about lifestyle render abortion a necessity in family planning. One-third of the women had had a previous abortion(s) and 12% had become pregnant in a situation where they had felt pressured or threatened by the man. Two-thirds of the women characterised their initial feelings towards the pregnancy solely in painful words while nearly all the others reported contradictory feelings. Concerning feelings towards the coming abortion, more than half expressed both positive and painful feelings such as anxiety, relief, grief, guilt, anguish, emptiness and responsibility, while one-third expressed only painful feelings. However, almost 70% stated that nothing could change their decision to have an abortion. Thus, this study highlights that contradictory feelings in relation to both pregnancy and the coming abortion are common but are very seldom associated with doubts about the decision to have an abortion.
The present study aims to increase knowledge about coping with legal abortion by studying women's reasoning, reactions and emotions over a period of 1 year. The study comprises interviews focusing on the experiences and effects of abortion in 58 women, 4 and 12 months after the abortion. The women also answered a questionnaire before the abortion concerning their living conditions, decision-making process and feelings about the pregnancy and the abortion. Majority of the women did not experience any emotional distress post-abortion and almost all the woman reported that they had coped well at the 1-year follow-up, although 12 had had severe emotional distress directly post-abortion. Furthermore, almost all described the abortion as a relief or a form of taking responsibility and more than half reported only positive experiences such as mental growth and maturity of the abortion process. Those without any emotional distress post-abortion stated clearly before the abortion that they did not want to give birth since they prioritised work, studies and/or existing children. The study shows that women generally are able to make the complex decision to have an abortion without suffering any subsequent regret or negative effects, as ascertained at the 1-year follow-up.