The emotional complications from abortion are a result of the lack of counselling for women facing an unwanted pregnancy.
Many women faced with an unwanted pregnancy may view abortion as their only solution. They may lack moral and practical support from their family and friends. Statistics indicated that women who have had abortions were encouraged to do so by boyfriends or parents. Often the woman, and those who help her make a decision, aren’t aware of the medical and psycho-social ramifications of abortion.
Because she has violated her own moral code, she may feel wicked.
Severe, prolonged depression can cause hopelessness and thoughts of suicide.
Post-abortive women often resort to drugs or alcohol to help block their abortions from their thoughts.
Studies show an unusually high rate of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders among women who have aborted.
She may experience flashbacks, nightmares or become obsessed with babies.
She may exhibit symptoms near the anniversary of the abortion or the due date of the aborted baby. She may look at children about the age her child would be and try to imagine what hers would look like.
A large percentage of women become pregnant again within a year of their abortion and see the child as an “atonement baby.”
Some fear they will never become pregnant again or that God will give them a deformed child as punishment. Caring support should be extended to a woman who has been traumatized by abortion. Listening to her is perhaps the most important way to help.
For further reading on post abortion syndrome read , Help for the Post-abortion Woman by Teri and Paul Reisser (Zondervan).This material adapted from The Standard , with permission.
In a major study (1) of 252 women who experienced post-abortion problems:
In her study of post abortion syndrome, Dr. Anne Catherine Speckhard of the University of Minnesota found the following long-term manifestations 5 to 10 years after the abortion. (15)
10. Kent et al., Emotional sequelae of elective abortion, B.C. Med. J. , 20, 4, 1978.
11. Mall, D. & Watts, W.F., The Psychological Aspects of Abortion , Washington DC: Univ. Pub. of America, 1979.
12. Parthun, M.L. Post-abortion mourning: The hidden grief. In Care for the Dying & Bereaved , I. Gentles (Ed.), Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1982.
13. Coping with a miscarriage, Parents , (Nov. 1980), p. 58.
14. Lehner, U.C. Japanese ceremonies show private doubts over use of abortion. Wall Street Journal , (Jan. 6, 1983).
15. Anne Speckhard. Psycho-Social Stress Following Abortion. Kansas City, Missouri: Sheed and Ward, 1987. 134 pages. Reviewed by Gary Crum, Ph.D., on page 44 of the October 1988 issue of ALL About Issues. This book analyzes the results of 30 in-depth interviews of women who have had abortions and compiles the results to arrive at a summary of all of the symptoms of post-abortion syndrome.
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