The effects of abortion could be either physical or emotional and they will range with each woman who experienced this procedure. It may be difficult to tell beforehand who is at greater or lesser risk for such effects, and the fact that abortion is legal in most places certainly reduces risk of physical complication. That being said, there can be complications to this procedure of a physical and emotional nature, and it is wise to understand any possible risk factors.
Right after an abortion, women may feel some soreness and cramping. This, and possibly bleeding from the procedure, which is generally no heavier than menstrual bleeding, may last for several weeks. Some women also experience stomach upset that can take the form of vomiting or simply nausea. These tend to be normal after effects of abortion, but if women feel concerned they should contact their doctor or the clinic where the procedure was performed.
Sometimes complications do arise after an abortion, though risk of this is low. Women should watch in the first few weeks for signs or very heavy bleeding, fever, severe pain in the pelvis or severe stomach pain. These signs might suggest dangerous infection or hemorrhage and need immediate medical care. In extremely rare instances, death does occur during or after an abortion, but risk of this is about on par with risk of death during childbirth.
There are also emotional effects of abortion, which do exist and need to be noted and looked for. Of these, the most significant is the development of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a risk any time a pregnancy ends, at any stage and no matter how. The body can respond by becoming deeply depressed as pregnancy hormones rapidly fall.
What this would suggest for most women seeking an abortion is that they have a strong support system; this could be the help of friends, group support, work with a counselor, or a supportive family. Isolation after an abortion tends to increase risk for serious depression, and the circumstances under which a woman gets an abortion may also make depression more or less likely. Those who feel conflicted about the decision or must keep it secretive may suffer more.
Other emotional effects of abortion exist. Some people feel guilt, while others feel relief. Without full-blown post-partum depression, some women may still feel tearful, moody, or simply endure a difficult emotional ride during the first few weeks to several months after abortion. Again, not all women have this experience, but some do.
Understanding the effects of abortion allows women to make informed choices. There are strong arguments for and against this procedure, and people on both sides of this issue may frequently hold up one or two of the effects as a reason for or against having an abortion. What is most important is that effects be neither aggrandized nor minimized. It is important for anyone who faces this decision to understand effects clear of taint of a political position.