Regret is a universal human emotion that creeps into our lives, often as an unwelcome guest. It’s a feeling that can nag us even years after an event, reminding us that we made the wrong decision, one we often wish we could undo. Regret can stem from various aspects of our lives, but it takes hold only when it comes to important decisions, not trivial matters. It is with these significant choices that we later discover the profound impact they can have on our lives and our futures. 

In some cases, the decisions you regret can be educational. They can help you acknowledge your faults and shortcomings and lead you to make better decisions moving into the future. In these cases, regret is an effective teacher.

At other times, regret may not be well-earned, particularly when you acknowledge that maybe you made the best decision you could under the circumstances – you were under time pressure, or you did not have any way to discern what the outcome would be. While you may regret these decisions, you should not criticize yourself too harshly for them, knowing that you always have limitations and that hindsight, as they say, is always 20-20.

But sometimes, you have earned the regret you feel. This is particularly so when you make a decision rashly and in a state of high emotion and low rationality, even though you don’t need to be in a rush. Sometimes fear, panic, spite, or anger make you choose something your better, more rational, and calm self might not choose.

Regret is a feeling that is common to many women who have had an abortion. At the time they made their decision, they thought it was the best thing to do. They were scared and nervous, anxious and panicky. When they got up the nerve to walk into an abortion clinic, their anxiety and doubt told them that if they walked out, they might never walk back in. So they stayed where they were, with a growing uneasy feeling, and went through with an abortion.

But after the fact, they realized what they had done. They saw that they never soberly thought about what they were doing and what it would mean to them in the days, weeks, and years to come. Now, they might wish that something had come along to intervene, to make them take a step back for a short while to ponder and reflect on this crucial decision.


Ireland’s Waiting Period Law: Time to Calm Down, Reflect

When it comes to significant life choices, none are more profound than decisions surrounding life. The option to undergo an abortion is a weighty one, often involving complex emotional, moral, and ethical considerations. It is not a decision that should be made rashly.

This understanding is precisely why Ireland’s waiting period for abortion is in place. Under Ireland’s law, there is a mandatory 3-day waiting period after a woman’s initial abortion consultation before she can get an abortion. This waiting period is intended to underscore to young women the importance of making thoughtful, deliberate decisions in crucial matters. How has this waiting period affected women?


Lives Saved

Recent statistics from 2022 show that 10,779 women in Ireland underwent initial abortion consultations, but only 8,156 abortions were ultimately performed. This means that over 2,600 women who initially considered abortion chose not to proceed with it after their initial consultation — that three-day waiting period allowed them to reconsider their initial impulse and make a different choice.

This statistic is pivotal. It emphasizes the life-saving importance of a waiting period for abortion. In Ireland in 2022, nearly a quarter of the women who contemplated abortion ultimately changed their minds. These numbers underscore the significance of giving individuals the time to think, reflect, and carefully consider their decisions.

A three-day waiting period is not an undue burden. What is significant is that time gives people opportunities – in this case, the chance to appreciate the gravity of their position fully. This waiting period helps women avoid rushing – or being rushed – into a decision they later realize they did not want. In this case, Ireland’s waiting period likely prevented 2600 cases of post-abortion regret.


What is Done Cannot Be Undone

Regret is not an abstract concept. Many women who have undergone abortion procedures share their experiences of regret, often haunted by the emotional and psychological turmoil that follows. It is a powerful emotion, one that can persist for years, even a lifetime. It can affect you in many ways, causing depression, anxiety, lack of confidence, fear of relationships, and fear of motherhood. While proponents of abortion argue for unrestricted access, it is essential to remember that the consequences of such decisions extend far beyond the initial choice.

There are pro-abortion advocates in Ireland who are even now working to remove the waiting period. Given the minimal burden, it begs the question: what are they afraid of? That women might choose life? 

Similarly, pro-abortion forces are working hard to eliminate abortion pill reversal (APR). APR is a treatment protocol that has had considerable success in enabling women who change their minds after taking the abortion pill to stop the abortion process, so long as the reversal is begun within a short time after taking the first pill. What does this mean? It reveals the reality that abortion activists do not advocate for “choice” – they advocate for abortion. 

Ireland’s waiting period is not a burden but a safeguard for women, protecting them from making irreversible decisions driven by emotions or circumstances. It gives them the time to weigh the implications of their choices carefully, emphasizing the importance of making thoughtful, deliberate decisions in matters of profound significance. 

The irreversible nature of abortion underlines the necessity of ensuring that individuals are fully informed and emotionally prepared before making such life-altering decisions. If autonomy and choice are meaningful at all to pro-abortion advocates, they would support helping women to make responsible decisions. 

At ProLife Doc, we know that life begins at conception and that every life is precious. The abortion of so many babies in Ireland after the legalization of abortion in 2019 is clearly a tragedy. But there is much to be thankful for in the fact that 2,600 little infants are alive today, likely due to a small but critical protection in Ireland’s abortion law: a three-day waiting period. 

In the US, 13 states have some waiting period, with Utah and North Carolina being the only two with a 72-hour waiting period. Many abortion advocates oppose these laws. Their argument, if it can be called that, is the claim that the vast majority of women who make an initial consultation go forward with an abortion. One source claims that 86% of women who must undergo a waiting period eventually follow through. But isn’t it good news that 14% are given the opportunity to avoid a lifetime of regret? Isn’t that a victory for these women?

As an obstetrician, ProLife Doc Dr. Bill Lile loves children. But he also loves their mothers, knowing that the miraculous ability to bring new life into the world is a precious gift, not a curse or unwelcome burden. To support Dr. Lile’s ProLife ministry, to donate, or to subscribe to his newsletter, contact ProLife Doc today.

Skip to content