No woman wants to be in a situation of an unplanned pregnancy!
And most women do not want to abort an unborn baby. But if the situation arises, then the main focus is to remove the problem. Abortion often seems the most obvious – and the easiest – answer to that problem. However, on closer inspection it may not be that simple. In this two-part blog, we will look closely at the physical and emotional effects of abortion so you can understand it more fully.
Effects of Abortion: The Emotional Aspects
In a past blog article, the physical effects of abortion were discussed. Any person seeking an abortion was urged to be an informed consumer and to be knowledgeable of all the physical risks of abortion. All too often, the emotional effects of abortion are under-reported and down-played.
Emotional reactions following abortion are more common than physical side effects. It is commonly reported that the abortion affected them more then they ever anticipated.
Abortion can effect each person differently. Some are traumatized and feel violated during the abortion. Others report feeling little during the abortion and in later years. Because every person is different, one person’s reaction to an abortion will be different from another’s reaction. Some who have experienced negative emotions find that those emotions go away with time. Others find them more difficult to overcome as time advances.
For more information on the emotional effects and the facts stated in the following paragraphs, see the links at the end of this article.
In the immediate period after the abortion, a sense of relief is often reported (as documented in the book “Her Choice to Heal”). However studies indicate that the effects can be more profound. Compared with women who delivered a child, those who aborted had a significantly higher risk of death from all causes and, most notably, more often from suicide. Higher death rates of women who have had an abortion persist over time and across socioeconomic boundaries. Some of this may be explained by self-destructive tendencies, depression, and other unhealthy behavior brought on by the abortion experience (as reported here). Those who have conditions (like depression or other emotional disorders) before the abortion and those who have difficult circumstances surrounding the abortion (for example, being bullied into an abortion) increase the risk for major emotional problems after abortion (reported here).
The feelings that can occur after an abortion have become so identifiable that this condition has been named Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Moreover PAS is being recognized as a form of post-traumatic stress reactions (PTSD). PTSD often occurs after an individual has suffered an event so stressful and so traumatic that this person is unable to cope with this experience in a normal manner. Following a traumatic event, victims of PTSD are unable to simply resume their lives where they had left off. Instead, they experience a variety of reactions that do not go away merely with the passage of time.
Below is a list of typical reactions that may be experienced in the months or years following an abortion, including but are not limited to:
> Feeling numb (To avoid painful thoughts after abortion, many post-abortive individuals work to shut off their emotions. This may take the form of abandoning friendships and family, particularly if these individuals were part of their abortion experience.)
> Guilt (Abortion can short-circuit the basic human instinct to protect one’s child, leading to feelings of guilt. Additionally, there is survival guilt; the sorrowful resignation that “It’s me or you, and I choose me.”)
> Shame and secrecy
> Acute feeling of grief and loss
> Sadness and depression
> Unexplained anger or rage
> Preoccupation with babies or getting pregnant again
> Avoiding children or pregnant women
> Unable to bond with present or future children
> Fear that future children will die
> Sexual dysfunction
> Loss of relationships
> Emotional coldness, isolation
> Inability to forgive
> Increased alcohol and drug abuse
> Eating disorders
> Anxiety or anxiety attacks
> Flashbacks of the abortion procedure
> Anniversary syndrome (increase in symptoms on the aborted child’s due date, or the date of the abortion)
> Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Rarely does the post-abortive individual suffer every symptom. However, if someone has endured thoughts of suicide or has two or more of these reactions, it could mean that the pain may be due to an abortion experience. If that is the case, an abortion recovery program can help bring peace.
Do you know someone who is suffering from after-abortion grief? Perhaps you would like to talk to someone about your abortion? There is help and support available for you. We will never judge . . . We will never push. We are simply here for you. You can call us at 913-962-0200; our help-line is available 24/7. You can even schedule your first appointment without having to talk to anyone – just visit us online at here and pick a time that works for you. It’s simple, it’s free . . . it’s the step you need to take to talk to someone who cares and can offer confidential help.
Global Library of Women’s Medicine
If You Are Pregnant – KS Dept Health & Environment
US National Library of Medicine
LifeChoices Health Network
Christian Science Monitor
Book: Detrimental Effects of Abortion