“Abortion” is an emotionally charged word. A quick Google search of “abortion pros and cons” will return countless opinionated articles listing reasons why abortion is “good” or “bad,” or why it should be legal or illegal. But for a woman trying to make the best possible choice for herself and her baby, the fierce debate about the pros and cons of abortion does little to help her reach a decision.

If you are weighing your unplanned pregnancy options, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the opinions of others, whether they come from your friends, family members or even information you come across online as you research abortion’s pros and cons. The most important thing to remember is that you are the only person who can determine whether abortion is right for you.

But to do that, it’s important to have all the facts. By familiarizing yourself with the true pros and cons to abortion, you can feel more confident knowing you’re making a fully informed decision, whatever that may be. Read on for a comprehensive, unbiased list of the pros and cons on abortion to consider as you make your decision.

Pros of Abortion

No woman wants to be in a situation where she has to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy. However, while it can be an agonizing decision to make, the women who choose this option often do so because they feel that the abortion pros outweigh the cons in their personal situation.

It’s important to remember that every woman’s circumstances are different; what one woman sees as an abortion pro, another might consider to be an abortion con. While this is not a complete list of the reasons women choose abortion, here are some of the benefits of abortion for the women that choose this option:

  • Most abortions involve low medical risk. One of the good things about abortion is that when it is completed legally, it’s a generally safe procedure with few medical risks, especially when performed early in the pregnancy. Thousands of abortions are completed successfully every year, and most women experience only mild side effects.
  • Abortion is an alternative to pregnancy. Abortion is the only unplanned pregnancy option that allows a woman to discontinue her pregnancy before the baby is born. Many women choose abortion because they are not ready to experience pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Abortion is an alternative to parenting. Like adoption, abortion is an option for women who are not ready to raise a baby. An expectant mother may choose abortion (or adoption) because she does not have the time, money, health, stability or desire to raise a child at this point in her life. In turn, this can lead to additional abortion benefits; it allows women to continue pursuing their educational or career goals and work toward greater financial stability. In addition, research has suggested that by reducing the number of unwanted children, abortion may lead to lower crime rates and a reduced risk of maternal depression, child abuse, physical violence during pregnancy and more.
  • Abortion gives women control of their bodies. Pro-choice supporters argue that one of the biggest adoption pros is the independence it affords to women; the ability to choose abortion allows women greater control over the choice of whether and when to have children.
  • Most women feel positive about their abortion decision. While abortion is a difficult decision to make, and most women will experience some feelings of grief and loss immediately following the abortion, some studies have shown that the majority of women do not suffer long-term emotional consequences following an abortion.
  • Abortion is an option for women whose babies are diagnosed with severe health challenges. Some women choose abortion after discovering that their baby has a profound abnormality or life-threatening disorder that would result in death before or shortly after birth.
  • Abortion is an option for women facing life-threatening conditions. In some cases, a woman chooses abortion because continuing her pregnancy would put her life at risk.

While abortion may not be ideal, these pros about abortion may help expectant mothers who are struggling with an abortion decision to see the upside of their choice.

But before making a final decision, it’s important to compare these abortion advantages to the challenges and disadvantages of this unplanned pregnancy option.

Cons of Abortion

While abortion can be the best option for women in certain circumstances, it’s not the right choice for everyone. There are also several abortion cons to take into consideration. Many women weighing their unplanned pregnancy options ultimately decide against abortion because they have personal emotional, spiritual, financial or logistical problems with abortion.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, here are some of the potential cons of abortion to be aware of:

  • Abortion can involve some minor health risks and side effects. While legal abortions are generally quite safe, they do carry some rare but serious risks and side effects, just like any other medical procedure. These include pain, discomfort, bleeding, infection and, in rare cases, injury to internal organs or reactions to the medicine given. Abortions completed later in pregnancy have a greater risk of complications, so talk to your doctor to make sure you are informed about what to expect during and after your abortion.
  • Abortion can have psychological consequences. The emotional effects of abortion are often debated. While some studies suggest that most women do not have long-term regrets about their adoption decision, others conclude that women who choose abortion may be more likely to suffer from mental health problems like anxiety, depression, substance abuse and more.
  • Abortion can be costly. While abortion is certainly less expensive than raising a child to adulthood, the medical procedure isn’t always cheap. In fact, median abortion costs performed early in the pregnancy are around $500, with later-term abortions costing much more, sometimes up to several thousand dollars. Many insurance policies do not cover the cost of elective abortion, which means many women are forced to pay these costs out of pocket.
  • In some states, abortion requires parental consent. Several states have parental notification laws requiring minors to obtain permission from one or both parents before having an abortion. This is a major con of abortion for young women who do not want their parents to know about their unplanned pregnancy.
  • Abortion may be difficult to access. Women in more rural or remote areas may have trouble finding a safe abortion provider near them; some pregnant mothers have to travel several hours to access abortion services and, depending on state laws, they may have to make more than one trip for the necessary counseling and medical services.
  • Women who choose abortion may face harsh judgement from others. Pro-life organizations often picket abortion clinics or otherwise harass abortion providers and women seeking abortion services. Some women also face harsh criticism from friends, family members and others who know about and disagree with their abortion decision.
  • Abortion goes against some women’s religious beliefs. Some women facing an unplanned pregnancy may want an abortion but feel torn because of religious or moral beliefs that abortion is wrong. They may feel that they are going against God or denying their baby the right to life by choosing an abortion.
  • When a woman chooses abortion, she does not get to meet her child. Women who choose abortion will not fully experience pregnancy or childbirth, and they will not have an opportunity to meet their baby and watch him or her grow up as they would with parenting or open adoption. Some women later wonder what their child would have been like if he or she had been born.
  • An abortion decision must be made early in the pregnancy. Most abortions are performed during the first trimester of pregnancy. After that, it becomes much more difficult to find abortion services, and medical risks are heightened. This means that women who want to have an abortion must learn of their unplanned pregnancy early on, quickly make an abortion decision, and make the necessary arrangements to access and pay for the abortion within the first few months of their pregnancy. As a result, abortion is not an option for everyone, and these time constraints could also lead some women to rush into an abortion decision that they may later regret.

It’s important to keep in mind that these potential abortion problems should not necessarily be considered reasons not to have an abortion; they are just the realistic cons about abortion that every woman should be aware of when she’s deciding how to move forward with an unplanned pregnancy.

Ultimately, the only pros and cons of abortion that matter are the ones that are relevant to you; the only reason to have an abortion (or not have an abortion) is because it’s what you decide is right.

Weighing the Pros and Cons About Abortion

It is up to every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy to do her research and weigh the pros and cons of abortion in her individual circumstances. No one knows you, your baby or your situation better than you do.

However, if you need help making an abortion decision, you can always contact a professional counselor to talk about your options. Many abortion clinics, adoption agencies and independent counselors offer free options counseling to expectant mothers. Just make sure the professional you contact can provide nonjudgmental, unbiased information and support as you explore all of the pros and cons of abortion.