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Mental Illness and Deciding on Abortion

Practical issues are frequently considerations when women think about the option of abortion. Some of the most common reasons might include financial hardships, relationship difficulties, or physical health concerns. But there can be a deeper and very personal aspect to consider if you have a mental health issue. Mental health can be just as significant in a decision about abortion as practical or physical reasons.

Considering abortion can be difficult to face on your own, with or without mental health concerns. Find nonjudgmental and compassionate support at Avenue Women’s Center. For nearly 40 years, we’ve come alongside women in the first steps of their pregnancy decisions with free options consultations. Discuss your personal concerns and learn accurate information about each of your options from our knowledgeable and caring staff. Contact us today for your free appointment at any of our five Chicagoland locations!

Misunderstandings of Mental Illness

A lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about mental health issues exist, leaving many to wonder … What exactly is a mental illness? “A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood.”* Unlike an emotion that passes, a mental illness is a condition that can play a significant role in a person’s daily life, interactions, relationships, decisions, goals, and activities. Mental illness can be caused by genetics, lifestyles, environments, trauma, biochemical processes, and brain structures.* Some conditions have more than one root cause in a person, and it can be challenging even for the individual themselves to understand, let alone try to break down outside misunderstandings.

Even as more is discovered about causes and treatments, mental health remains a sensitive topic to discuss openly. Loved ones might have a hard time understanding if they don’t experience it personally. Even if someone has the same or similar mental illness, each person’s experience is unique and varies. You might want to talk about the role of mental health in your consideration of abortion, but you aren’t sure how to handle possible misunderstandings.

Mental Illness and an Abortion Decision

Coping with mental illness depends on the individual and what works best for them. Our bodies and minds respond differently to treatments, what works for one person might not for another. Medication management plans, individual or group therapy and counseling, and treatment programs are just a few of several ways to cope with mental illness.

A pregnancy can change or affect your treatment options, and leave you concerned about your mental health. Women with a genetic mental illness may worry that they’ll pass it on to their child if they continue their pregnancy. For those taking medication, they could be concerned with their mental health during and after their pregnancy. Many may be wondering if their mental illness is affecting their ability to think clearly about their pregnancy options, including abortion. It can be difficult to face a decision about abortion even without a mental health condition. So what can you do to move forward in your next steps?

  • Talk with your doctor or health care provider about your personal health history and what it could mean for a pregnancy. If you’re taking medication, what are some options that could be safe while pregnant? What are alternatives? What physical adjustments could you make to ensure your health while you decide on your options?
  • Speak with your counselor, therapist, or a trusted person about your pregnancy options and mental health concerns. What might be some side effects for you personally with the option of abortion? What are some personalized ways you can think through each pregnancy option with consideration of your individual mental health condition? How might you handle possible emotional effects of an abortion afterwards?

At Avenue Women’s Center, we understand that mental health concerns can challenge a pregnancy decision. We are dedicated to providing you with reliable and accurate information about each of your options, including abortion. Our free options consultations offer women the ability to speak freely about their personal concerns and challenges in a safe, secure, confidential, and nonjudgmental environment. Learn more about your options from our expert staff who genuinely care about supporting your first steps with compassion, consideration, and understanding. Reach out to us with a call, text, chat, or email and make your free appointment today!


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (2019). Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved from:

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.