Summary: Abortion Negatively Affects Subsequent Parenting

There are a number of factors unique to the experience of an elective abortion that suggest it may be associated with an increased risk for reduced emotional investment in future children, limited parental involvement, and possible compromised child development outcomes.

  • A study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry compared the nature of the caregiving environment and children's developmental outcomes associated with maternal history of abortion prior to the children's births versus no maternal history of abortion. There are a number of factors unique to the experience of an elective abortion that suggest it may be associated with an increased risk for reduced emotional investment in future children, limited parental involvement, and possible compromised child development outcomes. The data used for the study was collected during 1992 from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The sample consisted of 4,172 women without a reported history of abortion, 672 women with a history of abortion prior to childbirth, and 186 women with a history of abortion after childbirth. For the youngest first-born children (ages 1-4 years old), maternal history of abortion, when compared to no maternal history of an abortion, was associated with lower emotional support scores. The researchers also found that among 5-9 year olds, more behavior problems were revealed for the children of women with a history of abortion. In light of these relevant statistics, the researchers of this study concluded that the potential effects of abortion experiences on parenting need more systematic attention.1

1The Quality of the Caregiving Environment and Child Development Outcomes Associated with Maternal History of Abortion Using the NLSY Data, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2002, pp. 743-757.

 

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