Background:Our current abortion law, securing women unconditional legal rights to have an induced abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnany, was passed in 1978. Now there are aproximately 14.500 induced abortions carried out in Norway every year. Despite the frequency of the procedure, there have been few studies on the phenomenon, especially regarding abortion and emotional consequences. The aim of this study was to analyze interviews with women carried out two years after they had been through an induced abortion.
Method:I selected two groups of women where the women in one group described having quantitative measures of feelings of grief and loss following the abortion and the women in the other group claimed no such distress. I wanted to compare the narratives of these to groups.
Results:My main findings were that the women who were suffering from grief and loss more often would experience ambivalence and doubt in the decisionmaking than the other women. These women would also often report different kinds of conflict and disagreement in the decision making process; pressure from male partner, friends and relatives and in some instances health workers were frequently occurent. Furthermore did the women in emotional distress more often describe feelings of guilt after the abortion and also feelings of regret. Women in both groups claimed to experience thoughts about the abortion and the child that could have been.
Conclusion:Women experience different degrees of emotional distress after an induced abortion. The women with subsequent feelings of grief and loss will more often report doubt before the abortion and ambivalence as to whether or not it was the right decision.