The survey involved 1,965 Japanese women who went to 178 medical institutions with the intention of having an abortion, The Japan Times reported. Of these, 152 patients or 7.7% told doctors that their decision was directly related to the pandemic. Most of them (46 women) are in the age group 25-29 years old and 20-24 years old (35 patients).
When these women were asked to name the specific reasons that prompted them to make this choice, 87 reported that they were forced to have an abortion due to the loss of their partner’s job or a decrease in his income. Another 74 admitted that they themselves faced a drop in monthly income or unemployment. 42 patients said they were afraid of contracting coronavirus during pregnancy. The authors of the study emphasized that at least 152 women could give birth if they had the economic resources to support themselves and their child.
At the same time, not a single patient reported abortion due to domestic violence, which Japan and many other countries faced with a surge after the introduction of the restriction due to COVID-19.
“Since the coronavirus tends to affect people with lower incomes more strongly, it is necessary to take measures to support these women, such as improving counseling systems and providing financial assistance,” the newspaper quoted the authors of the study.
Earlier, Canadian scientists found that during the pandemic, the level of anxiety among mothers almost doubled. Of the 1.3 thousand survey participants, an average of 35% of mothers of school-age children reported symptoms of depression, while by 2020 the prevalence of this mental disorder did not exceed 19%. Scientists have identified clinically significant symptoms of anxiety disorder in 31% of women.
The authors of the study believe that a key factor in the deterioration of mental health is the additional burden associated with the need to engage in distance learning of children and at the same time work from home while doing household chores. Most mothers reported finding it difficult to balance their daily chores, and this group had the highest rates of mental health deterioration: 40% reported depression, 35% complained of chronic anxiety.