For decades, pro abortion advocates have argued that abortion is safe, and that the procedure will cleanly deal with the problem of a crisis pregnancy, even though the Supreme Court themselves admitted that negative consequences from abortion were to be expected, so much so that they were unexceptional. (Gonzales v Carhart) But now, more and more women are speaking out. More and more psychologists are reporting a body of emotional symptoms experienced by many post-abortive women–conditions which are not healed by standard methods and remain problematic until the abortion trauma is properly addressed.
The industry’s own “customer base” is the voice here; not political pundits and preachers. The very women that the abortion industry claimed to be helping are the ones announcing the problem.
Pro Choice or No Choice? The Effects of Abortion Start Before the Abortion
The preferred label of abortion advocates for decades has been “pro choice.” It’s a well-chosen misnomer, because it moves attention away from the grisly action of the abortion itself, away from the inalienable rights of the unborn child, and towards impressions of the personal liberty and personal privacy of women. But there’s something deeply ironic about the notion of pro-choice and the personal liberty of women, and that’s the fact that upwards of 80% of women who choose abortion do in under duress, coerced by fear under heavy social pressure from friends, family, boyfriends, and work. In other words, most women chose abortion because they feel they have no other choice.
Norma McCorvey, known more famously by the pseudonym “Jane Roe,” told us the story of how one mother called in to schedule an abortion for her daughter. Norma asked the mother whether her daughter wanted the abortion, and the mother said succinctly, “it’s not her choice.” We interviewed many post-abortive women in our documentary, and each had a story of how she was pressured into it while in a state of fear and crisis. For some, boyfriends apply pressure through threats and ultimatums, promising to end the relationship if the girl chose to keep the child. For others, particularly teen age girls, its fueled by the avoidance of judgment by friends and family.
What’s particularly disturbing is that this occurs even in religious organizations that champion the pro-life cause. More than one popular minister has been exposed for demanding that his pregnant teenage daughter have an abortion in secret, because her pregnancy would do too much damage to his public reputation.
The social shaming and the gossip that surrounds a crisis pregnancy is so feared by young women that many who choose an abortion will keep it a secret for decades, and some even to their deathbeds.
The Emotional After Effects of An Abortion
When acting from an emotional crisis triggered by outside pressures, its understandable why a host of negative emotional side effects often follow an abortion procedure. They occur so commonly that some practitioners are calling it Post Abortion Syndrome, with symptoms including:
- Social and relational breakdown
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of self-esteem
- Anxiety attacks
- Guilt and remorse
- Inability to enjoy previously enjoyable activities
- Drug abuse
- Alcohol abuse
All in all, post abortive Women are 8 times more likely to visit a psychiatrist (Badgley, 1977) than women who deliver their babies. While the abortion industry strives to suppress any evidence that abortion is harmful, many of these post-abortive conditions have been addressed in research:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – 65% of post abortive women contract at least some of the symptoms of PTSD, and 14% have all the symptoms (Badgley, 1977.)
Dissociation and emotional paralysis -women find themselves unable to connect to others, to experiences, and to any strong emotional state. (Kent, 1981)While the emotional paralysis is usually temporary, once it wears off, about 50% of women will begin to express strong negative emotions, 10% of whom will contract more serious psychological disorders. (Friedman, 1974.)
Guilt and Regret– 8 weeks after the abortion, 55% of women will express deep guilt and 33% will show some form of regret. In a 1989 Survey reported in the LA Times, 56% of women expressed guilt and regret.
Brooding and Antisocial Behavior- many teen age girls who have abortions begin to socially withdrawal from their support network and become more reclusive, often privately obsessing over the need to have another baby to make up for their mistake(Wallerstein, 1972) About 33% of women will develop an obsessive longing to become pregnant again, and more than half will succeed within the year, only to find themselves in the exact same crisis situation they just tried to avoid through the first abortion. This is one of the reasons why repeat abortions account for 45% of the abortions in America.
Anxiety Disorders -44% will contract some kind of anxiety disorder, 25% of whom will be diagnosed with prescription drugs by doctors. (Ashton, 1980). A common form of this anxiety is called hyperarousal, one of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a common occurrence among rape victims, who remain in a high adrenaline state of fight-or-flight, because nothing feels safe anymore. This makes sense, since many women report that their abortion procedure (a sexual invasion by an unknown masked man) feels just like rape. (Frank, 1978)
Sexual Dysfunction – approximately 40% of women will begin to experience sexual problems. Some will lose interest in sex and no longer derive pleasure from intercourse, others will begin to actively find it painful. Others still will become markedly more promiscuous, but will no longer bond with their sexual partners. (Speckhard, 1987)
Drug and Alcohol Abuse – post abortive women are twice as likely to abuse alcohol as women who carry to term, many of whom will develop an addiction as a result (Kuzma et at, 1981).
Neglect and Subsequent Child Abuse - because many women experience a breakdown in their relationships and their maternal ability to bond, studies show a strong correlation between abortions and subsequent child neglect and abuse (Benedict et al, 1985. )
Depression, Self-Loathing and Self Destructive Behavior - 80% of women will experience at least a phase of self-loathing, and of those, 60% will begin some form of drug abuse and an increase in alcohol abuse. 60% of those women will contemplate suicide, half of whom will actually attempt it (Reardon, 1987.) Teen age girls are at a particularly high risk in this case — being 6x more likely to take their lives within a year of the abortion (Speckhard, 1987) .
Repression and Delayed Emotional Crises - many women will so strongly repress their negative emotions that they develop “unrelated” symptoms and have no idea that the abortion was the cause until they seek therapy (Heath, 1971.) Others will have temporary emotional episodes on the anniversary of their abortion, but for many years after will not understand its root cause(Wallerstein, 1972). Still other women will claim to be satisfied with their abortion until the realize that motherhood is over. Then, either the onset of menopause or a last child leaving home will trigger a sudden emotional crisis leading back to the abortion (Mattinson, 1985).
What Do Post Abortive Women Have to Say?
Lists of academic symptoms do not do this suffering justice. The damage is being done to the lives of hundreds of thousands of real women and real girls who are not being told the truth about what is going to happen to them, much less than their “product of conception” is a living baby with whom they have already formed a bond.
In our documentary, we interviewed a number of post abortive women and let them tell their stories. Listen now as they tell the truth about what happened to them:
If you or someone you know has experienced any of the symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome, help is available from caring groups like Abortion Recovery International, who will help you address the root causes of your distress. Please don’t suffer in secret.
If you’d like to know more about how abortion affects women, we cover this subject in detail in our full length documentary, Bloodmoney – The Business of Abortion. We currently have a dwindling supply of sleeve-only copies available for only $10, so get your copy today.
- Ashton, “The Psychosocial Outcome of Induced Abortion”, British Journal of Ob&Gyn.(1980), vol.87, p.1115-1122.
- Badgley, et.al., Report of the Committee on the Operation of the Abortion Law (Ottawa: Supply and Services, 1977) p.313-321.
- Benedict, et al., “Maternal Perinatal Risk Factors and Child Abuse,” Child Abuse
and Neglect, 9:217-224 (1985);
- Francke, The Ambivalence of Abortion (New York: Random House, 1978).
- Friedman,et.al.,”The Decision-Making Process and the Outcome of Therapeutic Abortion”, American Journal of Psychiatry (December 12, 1974), vol.131, p.1332-1337.
- Heath,”Psychiatry and Abortion”, Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal (1971), vol.16, p.55-63.
- Kent, et al., “Bereavement in Post-Abortive Women: A Clinical Report”, World Journal of Psychosynthesis (Autumn-Winter 1981), vol.13, nos.3-4.
- Kuzma & Kissinger, “Patterns of Alcohol and Cigarette Use in Pregnancy,” Neurobehavioral Toxicology and Terotology, 3:211-221 (1981).
- Mattinson, “The Effects of Abortion on a Marriage”, 1985 Abortion: Medical Progress and Social Implications, (Ciba Foundation Symposium, London: Pitman, 1985).
- Reardon, Aborted Women-Silent No More, (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1987)
- Speckhard, Psycho-social Stress Following Abortion, Sheed & Ward, Kansas
City: MO, 1987
Abortion: King’s Termination Study – IV,” Soc. Sci. & Med., 11:71-82 (1977).
- Wallerstein, et.al., “Psychosocial Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion in Young Unmarried Women”, Archives of General Psychiatry (1972) vol.27.
- Zimmerman, Passage Through Abortion (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1997).