Post Abortion Syndrome – Abortion After Effects and Symptoms

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 Post Abortion Syndrome   Abortion After Effects and SymptomsNorma 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
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Guilt and remorse
  • Inability to enjoy previously enjoyable activities
  • Drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Suicide

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.

woman after abortion Post Abortion Syndrome   Abortion After Effects and SymptomsBrooding 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.

bloodmoney film dvd Post Abortion Syndrome   Abortion After Effects and Symptoms

References

  • 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).
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23 Responses to Post Abortion Syndrome – Abortion After Effects and Symptoms

  1. Thumb up 22 Thumb down 4

    I absolutely agree with everything here. However, I find it unfortunate that every single reference in this article is at least 12 years old! While I’m fairly certain that the stats haven’t changed much since the 70′s and 80′s, I think citing studies from decades past will cause this article to lose credibility for anybody who doesn’t already agree with everything it says, and who would quickly point out the dates, especially those from pre-Roe. To my knowledge, there are plenty of compelling, recent studies which have the same findings and would be more credible to the pro-choice crowd. Just a thought!

    • Bloodmoney says:

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      Emily, thanks for reading this with enough detail to notice that! Some newer references would be nice, I agree, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that older references, on their own, produce a lack of credibility. In scientific inquiry, the establishing of evidence is not made obsolete by age, but only by either the discrediting of the studies performed, or by a body of new studies that consistently produces contrary results that are somehow able to account for the anomalies that the older data presents.

      • John Leslie says:

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        I have to agree with Emily here. I read this article with the specific intent of finding links to current studies that I could cite. It is not as much the scientific community that needs to understand the effects that abortion is having on ALL of us. I believe the average reader will come to the same conclusion when they notice, as Emily and myself did, that all the citations are 2 -3 decades old. I would like to be able to champion these issues and diseminate them to the growing number of contacts that I have, but I will not be able to use studies from 1981. I need citations from at least the 90′s and better yet 2000′s. Can you direct any of us to them?

        God bless

        • Andrew Smith says:

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          You may be interested in this: http://www.womensforumaustralia.com/research/women-and-abortion

          Women’s Forum Australia has produced and updated (for the third time now) a white paper “Women and Abortion: An Evidence Based Review” which is a compendium of all research available. This document includes significant areas devoted to the physical and psychological harm from abortion. If research has been done recently, then chances are it will be reported and cited here.

          PS. Greetings from Australia. The weather over here is absolutely beautiful. :-)

    • Amy says:

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      I agree that these stats are old. From what I understand from the pro-life alternative pregnancy centers, the new challenge in working with young women with crisis pregnancies is that the shame of an uplanned pregnancy is almost non-exsistent, and the girls already KNOW what they carry inside of them is a baby; a separate human life. To me, Roe vs Wade has become legalized murder, and everybody knows it. I cringe at the selfishness of this coming generation.

  2. Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

    Great article. I can’t believe from your sources that so much research has been known for so many decades. What I have discovered is that telling the story of one’s abortion is just the beginning; it serves as a warning to others. However, seek healing for your abortion pain, that is the real breakthrough, and that’s why I’d like to add to Abortion Recovery International the ministry I am part of, www.rachelsvineyard.org

  3. Joan Brislin says:

    Rate this Comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    Keep up the Great Work. Incredible job!!! Thank you for telling the truth!!!

  4. Rose says:

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    I have been traumatized since this whole thing started in 1973.. and will continue to keep stating “STOP FORNICATING’ “PROMOTE ABSTINENCE” ”RESPECT YOUR DIGNITY’ get to the core of the problem.. Yes, I will support this “help’ group for our kids.. but if no one promotes the above, this will only get worse and worse, then what good is this group, except to use as a testimonial warning in a “Abstinence Sesson” class. People need to teach the youth the consequences of fornication, and how dangerous the pill, and all contraceptives are.. and the spread of disease, etc. I will not tolerate otherwise… I’m 62 and am about up to my eyeballs in disgust and heartbreak… I have 5 grandkids and I fear for them… this sex garbage must be ended.. it’s like a cancer anymore.. The marital act.. is the ONLY accepted act that God will accept. I can’t be silent, I can’t be tolerant. STOP HATING WOMEN.. is what I pray so very hard for. And I will close with this “I cannot fathom how any mother, father, doctor and haho even the law, could actually ‘Murder” an innocent helpless child..” many tried to explain why these people do.. and not me nor God will accept that excuse… murder is murder,, only killers ‘charles manson, jeffery dahmer, who are psychotic would understand it. I’m writing this from my honest and truthful opinion in my heart mind and soul… it’s my prayer for a miracle to promote abstinence..and stop desecrating our children. I also pray that is group will promote what I mentioned so that those we help here, may use it to help others prevent it happening to them. May God have mercy on our souls. Amen

  5. Brian says:

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    Post abortion trauma is real. My wife and I are concluding a 9 week session for women (men’s group in the fall) emotionally/physically/spiritually harmed by abortion. Some have been dealing with their abortions pre-Roe vs. Wade. These are not “weak” women. They have the range of socio-economic achievements and challenges, raised or are raising children, maried or unmarried. “professional” or “blue collar”. Religious or atheist.

    They are taking the class because they have realized they have some unfinished business that goes beyond forgiveness regarding their abortion(s) and or miscarriage(s). They do not need a study hot off the press to confirm this, they are hurting now!

    We minister the truth in a non-condeming thatway acknowledges their pain, dignifies thier children, reconciles them to God, their husband or partner, builds their esteem freeing them to get on with their life their dreams, calling or aspirations.

    Post abortion trauma as abortion itself is the elephant in the room that few talk about even within pro-choice or pro-life advocacy communities.
    Go to www.abortionrecovery.org my ministry is listed:
    Everlasting Light Ministries and “google” the utube of Revs. Brian & Denise Walker, West Coast Walk for Life 2111 for more about our story of healing and the role Jesus Christ played in it!

  6. Carlos says:

    Rate this Comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Sorry, but it’s true, you need to have more actual reports, even in my country (Peru), we are dealing with teenagers, and they are up-to-date in information. Keep on your job, we need it. Thanks.

    • Bloodmoney says:

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      Carlos, what exactly do you mean by having more “actual reports?”

  7. Michelle Boales says:

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    ONE COMMENT…..
    RACHEL’S VINEYARD……PASS THIS ON….HEALING THROUGH LOVE……AFTER AN ABORTION, MALE OR FEMALE…..PLEASE, I PRAY, THAT RACHEL’S VINEYARD RETREATS WILL BECOME THE ANSWER TO ALL SUFFERING MEN AND WOMEN’S HEARTBREAK DUE TO ABORTION…..
    GOD BLESS……I HAVE BEEN TO A RETREAT AND CONTINUE TO REAP THE HEALING BENEFITS THAT FLOW FROM THIS INCREDIBLE RETREAT……

  8. Becky says:

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    I think the reason for using the “dated” information was to show that even before Roe v. Wade was decided, it was well known by the court that abortion was going to prove intolerably difficult for women. There are many current studies showing that the numbers of women (and families) negatively afftected by abortion are very high. Thankfully, there is power in forgivness and healing.

  9. Pati Adams says:

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    The 11plus years I have been in the Pro-Life Arena and working at different crisis pregnancy centers, I keep hearing govt officials, doctors, media, church people, T.V. personalities, just to name a few, state that there is no actually study or facts that there is a problem after abortion. Oh really!!! We sirs or madam, whom ever you are, I am here to say “bunk to that,”I am so sick and tired of them degrading and minimize this issue!! Not only women and men are hurting, there are siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, that are suffering from these losses, generations of families are gone.

    I am post-abortive, healed from going through Forgiven and Set Free Post Abortion Recovery Program. I am fired up and have my armor on, ready to speak for my children that were taken away from me through abortion!! In the 70;s I had 3 abortions, my ob-gyn doctor did them and I was given no medication, no information, nothing. I had 2 sons between these abortions, they are married and have families of there own. The thoughts that flood my memory is, if my other 3 were here, I would have more grand-babies, daughter in laws and son-in-laws to love on!! That was all taken away from me in a so called”15 minutes procedure”! 52million babies have been aborted since 1973, so when 1991 came around, they(if not aborted) would of been in the work force, paying into social security, you do the math.

    I know that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is with me and now it’s time not to be quiet anymore. People may say “Pati you sound too radical”, I would say “Yep”.

    So do I sound angry, you bet I am, each day I see girls and women coming into the crisis pregnancy center, hurt, broken, ashamed, tears streaming down their faces, shaking and on the edge of only God’s know what, because they have had an abortion or abortions. The lies that PP and NARAL is telling them, goes over the top. I would love to find out if women were really honest with themselves, how many of these Runs or Walks for Breast Cancer that women run, have had abortions and now have breast cancer?
    I have talked with many women in the past 11plus years and they have changed their minds and chose life for their baby, so yes, I will keep speaking the truth and Praising God for people like David Kyle, standing up for what is right, we can get this word out, Abortions Hurts Women and Men. Here I am Lord, use me!! Proverbs 24: 11-12

    • Marie Mason says:

      Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

      Patti, I think you’re on to something. Maybe an awareness run is just what we need! I am so sad to see where “popular” culture has brought us — rampant disease is the least of it; adults and children broken from sexual abuse, lost, killed and unloved generations of unborns and children; men and women who are so chaffed by meaningless sex that they don’t know how to truly love; broken hearts, homes and marriages from infidelity; the disgusting and degenerate ever growing sex industry that exploits men, women and children in the most vile ways. The ONLY solution is to lead out in teaching and preaching virtue and chastity and to teach our children that they deserve better! Men and women, boys and girls who espouse virtue and chastity will know peace, dignity, strength and love. I think it’s time we plan a Run for Virtue. How about you?

  10. Dena says:

    Rate this Comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    I have been e-mailing these web-sites information to people each time they came in.
    Fr Jeffrey Stephaniuk, I thank you for adding your web-site. I went into it and it really is a source of harmony, peace and hope that goes so well with all this information that is unfolding about abortions. I will pass it along as well.

  11. Crystal says:

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    I have been looking for these statistics. Thank you thank you thank you.

  12. Maria says:

    Rate this Comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Thank you for this! I am studying psychology and this is so tragic. Yes, in an abortion, a baby is murdered. But the mother is harmed, too. Also, I think women don’t think about the physical side effects–it’s not exactly an easy surgery. And it comes with physical complications, long-term pain, and sometimes infertility. Women deserve better. To say a woman has a “right” to abortion is only putting the social rights of women back hundreds of years. Though we have some alternatives already, we need better social support and more widespread knowledge also. Keep up the great work! :)

  13. Janet Klumb says:

    Rate this Comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    I am a facilitator for the Forgiven and Set Free Post-abortion recovery Bible Study in the Houston area.. I hear over and over the amount of guilt and anger that the abortion causes in a woman’s being which effects every aspect of their lives. I don’t need studies to confirm the damage done to our society by the lies told to these women: they have been confirmation enough. Yet, God is gracious to forgive and allow them to find forgiveness for those involved in their decision. The Creator of all life is also the Savior for those who have fallen short. Anyone needing help to overcome the effects of an abortion, please don’t hesitate to contact the local Pro=choice Pregnancy Center in order to link up with a Biblicallly based recovery program. Don’t let shame keep you from God’s healing Hand.

  14. Laura Rogers says:

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    Has anyone checked out the “Silent No More”campaign and information here? >>> http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/

  15. Patricia says:

    Rate this Comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    I am post abortive; didn’t come to terms with it and how much I was affected by
    my 1977 abortion until circa 2004. Somehow I began with SilentNoMore; and yes,
    it was extremely therapeutic to tell my story on the steps behind the capitol (but very
    cold back there in the shadow). I have continued to get/receive counseling and participate here and there in pro-life work. Unfortunately, domestic violence in my second marriage and porn addiction surfaced, then early childhood sexual abuse. I lived
    through it all, but was numb and the breadwinner. Now I am in a period of mourning my losses, one living son so far away, and his son located geographically far from him.
    Consequences …of a coerced abortion, and family members not held accountable.
    My job is to forgive, love myself, and love the unloveable.

    • Bloodmoney says:

      Rate this Comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      A tragic story, Patricia, and one that we hear of again and again when women open up and tell the truth about their circumstances. Kudos to you for having the boldness to speak up.

  16. Pai Gow says:

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    Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to mention that I have truly loved browsing your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write once more soon!