Having an abortion does not lead to increased alcohol, tobacco or drug use

alcohol & drug use

In the United States, the supposed mental health effects of abortion—including alcohol, tobacco and drug use—have been a focal point for anti-abortion advocacy. Some states even require abortion providers to tell patients that having an abortion may put them at risk for alcohol or drug disorders. New research from ANSIRH’s Turnaway Study found no evidence to support claims that abortion leads women to increase use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs.

Over the course of five years, researchers talked to women who received abortions and women who were denied wanted abortions. They found that having an abortion does not lead women to increase alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Women who had abortions typically continued the same substance use patterns they had prior to discovering their pregnancies.

The difference in alcohol use between women who had abortions and women who continued their pregnancies was related to women who gave birth reducing their alcohol consumption rather than women who had abortions increasing their use.