Abortion and Motherhood: Separating Myths from Reality

Illustration with books labeled 'Myths' and 'Facts' facing off, highlighting 'Abortion and Motherhood: Separating Myths from Reality'

There are many misconceptions around abortion, partly due to the misunderstanding and misinformation on the topic. Among the many myths and legends that surround it, two of the most common ones are related to parenthood – mothers don’t have abortions, and those who have abortions don’t become mothers. In this blog, we will tackle these two distinct but very much connected issues to dispel myths and empower people with accurate information. After all, free choice rests on us being informed.

Mothers Have Abortions

The notion that only non-mothers seek abortions is a misconception. In reality, mothers across diverse backgrounds and circumstances find themselves in situations where abortion becomes an important option. Data shows that a significant portion of women in Australia who undergo abortions are already mothers, with estimates indicating that more than half fall into this category. Similarly, in the United States, approximately 60% of people who have abortions are mothers, and among them, half have two or more children. Abortion statistics from the United Kingdom, specifically from 2021, show a similar trend: the proportion of abortions among individuals who are already mothers, compared to those who are not, rose from 51% in the previous decade to 57%.

One of the primary reasons mothers need access to abortion is for family planning purposes. Just as individuals without children may seek to prevent unplanned pregnancies, mothers also make decisions based on their current life circumstances and might need more time between each delivery. Some mothers may decide that at this time in their lives, they want to focus on other goals, such as their professional lives. They may feel that expanding their families at a particular time is not feasible or conducive to their overall well-being, which leads them to get an abortion as a means of family planning.

Another crucial aspect of family planning for mothers is prioritizing the needs of their existing children. Motherhood comes with significant responsibilities, and mothers may find themselves in situations where they must consider the needs of their current family members. In such cases, abortion can be a decision made out of love and responsibility towards the children they are already raising.

For some mothers or pregnant people, abortion is a decision made to safeguard their health and well-being. Pregnancy and childbirth carry inherent risks, and certain medical conditions or complications may pose serious threats to a mother’s health. In such circumstances, choosing abortion can be a necessary step to prevent potential harm to the mother’s physical or mental health. This decision is often made after careful consideration and consultation with health-care professionals.

Becoming a Parent After an Abortion

A common misconception about having an abortion is that it signifies a permanent decision to forgo motherhood. In reality, many individuals find themselves contemplating motherhood again at a later stage in life. It’s crucial to recognize that opting for abortion doesn’t negate the possibility of desiring to have children in the future. Our desires, circumstances, and perspectives evolve over time, and what may have felt insurmountable at one point in life might become achievable and desirable later on. Alternatively, some individuals may feel that they’re not ready at a given point in their life and would like to wait. The journey to motherhood is unique for each individual, and there’s no singular narrative that defines it.

Many people also wonder if they can still get pregnant after an abortion. The short answer is: yes! Abortion doesn’t affect fertility, and it’s entirely possible to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term after undergoing an abortion. The ability to conceive depends on various factors, including the individual’s reproductive health, age, and any underlying medical conditions.

The timing of conception after an abortion varies for each person and can depend on different factors. In general, ovulation can resume soon after the procedure, with an egg potentially being released from the ovary as early as five days afterward. This means that pregnancy could occur even before your next menstrual cycle. For those eager to conceive again, there is typically no medical necessity to postpone trying to get pregnant. Generally, there’s no need for additional measures to facilitate pregnancy after an abortion either. Nonetheless, some health-care providers advise waiting until after the first menstrual period following the procedure. This aids in accurately estimating the due date for the subsequent pregnancy and recognizing the signs of pregnancy after an abortion.

There are also some myths around pregnancy complications after an abortion; however, there is no supporting evidence. Studies have shown that abortion does not elevate the risk of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, low birth weight, or preterm birth in subsequent pregnancies. These findings provide crucial reassurance to those planning to get pregnant again, debunk misinformation, and offer a scientifically grounded understanding of an abortion’s implications on future reproductive health.

To Do or Not to Do – It’s Your Choice

If you are a mother seeking an abortion or someone who has had an abortion and is now wanting to get pregnant, we hope this blog has given you some clarity. If you have questions or would like to get some more details, you can check out our website. At safe2choose, we provide up-to-date information on abortion, free online counseling, and referrals to trusted, trained and pro-choice health-care providers. Feel free to get in touch.