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Physical Affects of Having an Abortion
Acute Grief Reaction
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
And more . . .
Yes, there CAN be complications
Click here to view "SLAIN BY CHOICE." A list of women who died at the hands of an abortion doctor while killing their child!
MOST COMMON COMPLICATIONS
Recent studies have revealed new evidence of damage created by abortion. Following legal abortion, you may have the following chances of complications.
Breast cancer: Recent studies have pointed out that there is what some might term a "dramatic relationship" between the rate of abortion and the rising incidence of breast cancer among women who have aborted. In fact, as the rate of abortion rises in America, so does the rate of breast cancer, with the most increased rate being among those women who have had abortions. Somerville, Scott, Esq., Before You Choose, AIM publications, 10/1/93; Willke, J.C., M.D., The Deadly After-Effect of Abortion: Breast Cancer, Hayes Publishing, 1993
Post-abortion grief has been identified in numerous studies as a serious complication of induced abortion. Human Medicine 1991; 7:3:203-9
3 in 4 (77%) - Acute grief reaction if abortion is for genetic reasons. British Medical Journal 1985; 290:907-9
1 in 2 (CA 50%) - Emotional and psychological disturbances lasting for months (may include depression, insomnia, nervousness, guilt, and regret). McGovern, Celeste, "Hag-Ridden by Post-Abortion Guilt," British Columbia Report, 10/18/93; British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1980; 87:1115-22
1 in 4 (24.3%) - Complications in future pregnancies (may include excessive bleeding, premature delivery, cervical damage, and sterility). Acta/Obstetrics and Gynecology Scandinavia 1979; 58:491-4
ADDITIONAL SIDE EFFECTS
Pelvic inflammatory disease: (PID) A first-trimester abortion can result in Bacterial vaginosis, leading to PID--a condition that must be treated. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1992; 166:100-103
Uterine perforations: It can well occur that uterine perforations go unrecognized and untreated. Bernadell Technical Bulletin 1989; 1:1:1-2
Breast cancer: 140% increased risk following a abortion. British Journal of Cancer 1981; 43:72-6
Tubal pregnancy: Legal abortion appears to contribute to an increase in ectopic pregnancy in younger women when associated with pelvic inflammatory disease. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1989; 160:642-6
30% increased risk after one abortion. 160% increased risk after two or more abortions. American Journal of Public Health 1982; 72:253-6
Placenta previa: A condition producing extremely severe, life-threatening bleeding in future pregnancies. 600% increased risk following an abortion. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1981; 141:769-72
Decreased maternal bonding: The loss of a baby through abortion may cause a mother to be less affectionate toward future children and may contribute to child abuse. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 1979; 24:610-20
Increased bleeding during subsequent pregnancies. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1983; 146:136-40
Retention of placenta: Increase during subsequent pregnancies. Acta/Obstetrics and Gynecology Scandinavia 1979; 58:485-90
WOMEN AT HIGHER RISK FOLLOWING AN ABORTION
Several groups of women are at significantly higher risk for post-abortion problems. They should be particularly aware of the greater potential for complications.
Women under 20 two times greater risk of medical complications than for women aged 25-29. Canadian Journal of Public Health 1982; 73:396-400
1 in 24 (4.1%) have experienced immediate medical complications. (These have included severe bleeding, infection, perforation of the uterus, and part of the baby being retained.) Canadian Journal of Public Health 1982; 73:396-400
150% greater risk of cervical injury than for women over 30 years of age. New England Journal of Medicine 1983; 309:621-4
Women who've had a previous abortion 200% increased risk of miscarriage after two or more abortions. Journal of the American Medical Association 1980; 243:2495-9
160% increased risk of tubal pregnancy. American Journal of Public Health 1982; 72:253-6
Increased risk of abnormal positioning of the baby in future pregnancies. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 1983; 146:136-40
Women with previous or existing pelvic infections (PID) Decrease in fertility following an abortion. Acta/Obstetrics and Gynecology Scandinavia 1979; 58:539-42
More days of post-abortion pain. Acta/Obstetrics and Gynecology Scandinavia 1982; 61:357-60
Increased risk of tubal pregnancy following an abortion. American Journal of Public Health 1982; 72:253-6
This brochure is not long enough to list the more than 750 references in medical literature, each of which indicate serious complications to legalized abortion.
For a complete listing, please send $18.00 to The Rutherford Institute, P.O. Box 7482, Charlottesville, VA 22906-7482, 1-804-978-3888, and request "Major Articles and Books Concerning the Detrimental Effects of Abortion."
If you are going through a difficult time with your pregnancy, there are people who want to help you.
Bethany Christian Services (800) 238-4269
Birthright USA National Office (800) 550-4900
Care Net (703) 237-2100
The National Life Center, Inc. (800) 848-LOVE (5683)
The Nuturing Network (800) TNN-4MOM (866-4666)
White Rose Institute (501) 994-7673
© 1996, American Life League
Emotional Affects of Having an Abortion
Psychological Complications of Abortion
By Barbara LeBow
With a literature survey by Vincent M. Rue, Ph.D. and American Life League
Barbara LeBow is editor of Pro-Life News Canada, the publication of Alliance for Life, Winnipeg, Manitoba. The original version of "The Psychological Complications of Abortion" was reprinted with permission from the July 1983 issue of Pro-Life News Canada. Current medical literature indicates the article's continued timeliness.
Vincent M. Rue, Ph.D., is co-director with Dr. Susan Stanford-Rue of the Institute for Abortion Recovery and Research, 111 Bow St., Portsmouth, NH 03801.
Revised February, 1992
We are told by abortion advocates that there are no adverse psychological effects from abortion. In contrast, the women who are suffering from the emotional after-effects of abortion are telling us that the psychological consequences are devastating and long-lasting.
Questionnaires - A Cause for Concern
Abortion promoters are quick to partially quote questionnaires. The general finding of over 1,000 questionnaire-based papers published in the last ten years is that the main immediate reaction to abortion is relief. The same questionnaires also find abortion to be traumatic, accompanied by distress, anxiety and numbness, but abortion adherents ignore these findings.
Questionnaires, no matter how skillfully designed, do not get to the core of one's true feelings. In-depth research has found that when women are in trusting, sharing relationships they report deep-seated feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression, loss, anger and exploitation over their abortion experiences.
A point in fact is the research of Drs. Ian Kent, R.C. Greenwood, Janice Loeken and W. Nicholls at the University of British Columbia. They found that a group of women asked by questionnaire about their abortions concluded that their abortions were mildly traumatic, but that their main reaction was relief. Also, a feeling of emotional numbness after the abortion was reported, especially by teenagers.
Compare this to another group of women in therapy for reasons not directly associated with their abortions. After some time in therapy, the women's deep feelings began to surface - feelings of intense pain, bereavement and identification with their aborted babies. These feelings appeared even when a woman rationally tried to maintain that abortion was the only possible course of action. In group sessions or alone with the therapist, women expressed their pain and regret.
A totally different reaction appears when a woman communicates her deep feelings to people she has come to know and trust instead of ticking off a superficial response on a questionnaire. On questionnaires women report "socially approved" responses; in a trusting relationship they report their genuine emotions.
The Damage Being Done
The immediate reaction after an abortion may be relief - no more fear of the unknown. But what about later - one month, one year, ten years later? In-depth studies are reporting consistent findings. The psychological damage is taking the following forms: guilt, anxiety, depression, a sense of loss, hostility, suicide and psychosis.[3, 4] And women suffer from not one but a combination of these difficulties. This trauma is recognized as a psychological stress disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and is listed in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM III-R:309.89, Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Press, 1987, p. 250).
Guilt over an abortion is a frequent reaction - a reaction that may smolder for years.[5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] Women confronting their guilt make such statements as "I murdered a baby."
Many symptoms can result from unresolved guilt. Some are depression, self-accusation, complexes or fears of infertility and of sex.
Anxiety often is felt very keenly and expressed by women in the post-abortion period.[11, 12] Women cry, "I'm going crazy," or "I'm always fearful."
Many women are anxious about physical complications. Often they are worried that they may never have another child. In some cases there are no symptoms of physical problems. In other cases there are, such as miscarriages or tubal pregnancies.
Women often describe symptoms of depression when telling of their feelings about their abortion experiences. Many feel completely immobilized. They haven't been interested in anyone or anything since their abortion. They don't talk to anyone, they don't go to work, they don't function adequately in any area of life. In short, they are alienated from those around them and feel they have no one to confide in.
In their depression, many women find they have been crying since their abortions. They state, "I cry all the time." Others have insomnia and nightmares about little boys or girls the age their children would have been. Some have constant, distressing flashbacks of the abortion procedure.
During depressions occurring in the mid-decades of a patient's life, therapists frequently hear expressions of remorse and guilt concerning abortions that occurred 20 or more years earlier. And the patient's psychological pain from the abortion surfaces as she discusses another problem, the one that brought her to the therapist.
A family who has experienced prenatal detection of an abnormality and has chosen abortion is also at risk of emotional trauma.[14, 15] Studies indicate that the incidence of depression following such selective abortion may be as high as 92 percent among women and 82 percent among men and is greater than that associated with the delivery of a stillborn.
The cause of the preborn's death makes the difference. A stillbirth usually is regarded as an unfortunate accident; in selective abortion, the baby's death is the result of a premeditated choice.
When a post-abortive woman is allowed to grieve, she articulates a sense of loss. Women describe a number of reactions. "I cannot look at babies, little children or pregnant women," or "I'm jealous of mothers," or "I want to get pregnant again to replace my lost baby."
Often women are simultaneously experiencing other losses that serve to increase their pain. Their relationship with their sexual partner has deteriorated or even been destroyed since the abortion. There is much distress and confusion over husbands or boyfriends abandoning them after their abortions or lacking concern about their emotional pain.
Another loss is that of self-esteem and of values that the women cherished before their abortions but found obliterated by their abortions. They are disappointed in themselves for going against their previously held values. They describe themselves now as "violent" or "not worthy of love or of children" or "copping out."[16, 17]
Anger is strongly felt and expressed toward people involved in the abortion: themselves, counselors, physicians, boyfriends and spouses, for example.
Anger is directed toward doctors and counselors who "don't present the other side of the picture" or "don't warn of the possible physical and emotional problems."
One woman states, "After the abortion, when I was in pain emotionally, no one at the clinic wanted to see me again."
Husbands and boyfriends cause anger when they don't support their partner who desperately needs help and understanding, or when they have encouraged or forced the woman to have an abortion.
Women are not only disappointed in themselves but angry with themselves when they feel they went against their previously held values.
Along with the anger are feelings of being misled and exploited by the so-called professionals they went to for help before and after their abortions. Many women state they were given misinformation such as "your pregnancy is only tissue," or "don't think of it as killing, only as getting your period going again."
Women are angry, hostile and resentful because they are not informed about prenatal development, abortion methods and their risks - physical and psychological - and alternatives to abortion. Women say they were made to feel like helpless, powerless "victims" and still feel that way in their interactions.
Women who regret having abortions, and feel they were exploited by counselors, doctors, husbands or boyfriends who pushed abortion as a solution to problems, are founding post-abortion counseling groups. The founding women and those who continue to join the groups discover they all have problems, especially with guilt and depression, and feel what they did is wrong. These counseling groups help women for whom pregnancy poses a problem by providing the needed assistance to bring a baby safely to term and to care for him or her adequately after delivery.
A growing problem is suicide after an abortion. An increasing number of attempted and successful suicides by women on the approximate date their babies would have been born had they not aborted them is being reported by physicians, researchers and counselors. The highest rate is for 15- to 24-year-olds.
To illustrate, a 17-year-old attempted to kill herself by crashing her car beyond repair while driving under the influence of alcohol and 29 Bufferin tablets. She walked away from the accident and was found sitting in a cemetery. During her abortion, she had calculated her baby's birth date, the exact date the accident occurred.
In 1979 alone, Drs. Sim and Neisser reported 95 post-abortive psychoses from Israel and from Birmingham, England, indicating that this problem is not as rare as some would suggest. The comparison between the prognosis of post-abortion psychosis and post-partum psychosis is disturbing.
Abortion Outcome Compared to Childbirth
Number Good Poor
Post-partum 311 307 4
Post-abortive 56 28 28
In Table 1, good prognosis was defined as full remission of symptoms and restoration to the previous level of functioning without the problem of relapse. A poor prognosis would omit any of these features. So, compared to post-delivery disturbances, post-abortion psychoses are more serious, last longer and are more likely to recur.
In the following examples, abortion produced severe psychoses six to 12 weeks post-abortion in women who functioned well before their abortions.
"A 17-year-old honor student attended a summer program in an area in which she excelled. This was the first time she had been away from home for an extended period. She met her first boyfriend, fell in love and became pregnant. She visited a sister in a northern city and obtained an abortion without her parents' knowledge.
"Later she developed lethargy, malaise, nausea with occasional vomiting. Thorough physical evaluation failed to reveal any organic cause for the symptoms. A short time later she complained of feeling bloated, excessive weight gain, breast engorgement and tenderness.
"On the eve of the first anniversary of her abortion, she experienced an overt psychosis. The mental status examination revealed marked regression, visual hallucinations and psychotic thought processes . . . The regression was so severe that she had fecal inconti-nence and smeared the feces on herself and around the room . . .
"Psychological testing revealed a marked amount of guilt . . . Treatment with an antipsychotic drug was begun . . . She was able to attend school . . . However, each time her menstrual period began, she rapidly regressed to psychotic behavior with fecal smearing and visual hallucinations."
Two other examples illustrate further. After three years one woman believed her baby to be alive. Another woman continued to see everyone as the devil.
Other Victims of Abortion
The same psychological reactions to abortion may occur in others close to a woman who has aborted, such as her partner, relatives, nurses and doctors. As examples, one mother became immobilized with depression after letting her daughter have an abortion. A husband was tormented by guilt over his wife's abortion and recent miscarriage. His wife was experiencing loss, guilt and depression.
Doctors and nurses who have participated in many abortions report nightmares, and researchers documenting this conclude, "Regardless of one's religious or philosophic orientation, the view of abortion remains the same . . . that unconsciously the act of abortion was experienced as an act of murder."
Those who have aborted are telling us they pay a psychological price. Their views of themselves, their relationships, their emotional stability and their ability to effectively cope with life are damaged, sometimes beyond repair. The emotional reactions are both immediate and long term. Psychologically, women are in states of crisis. And the psychological aftermath of abortion extends beyond the one who has aborted to affect significant others in her life.
Denial of the psychological complications of abortion by abortion advocates demonstrates a lack of concern for women and further exploitation of them. Women are not well-informed or prepared for the psychological problems created by abortion, and then when they are suffering from these difficulties, they are told their pain does not exist. This denial prevents the offering of assistance, and the lack of needed help denies recovery, thereby maintaining the existence of psychologically incapacitated women.
1. Doan, B.K., and Quigley, B.G., "A Review," Canadian Medical Association Journal, Sept. 1, 1981, vol. 125.
2. Kent, I., et al., "Emotional Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion: A Comparative Study." Presented to annual meeting of Canadian Psychiatric Assoc., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Sept. 1977.
3. Parthun, M.L., "Post-Abortion Mourning: The Hidden Grief," Care for the Dying and the Bereaved, I. Gentles, ed. Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, 1982.
4. Mall, D., and Watts, W.F., The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publications of America, Washington, D.C., 1979.
5. Kent, I., et al. BC Med J 20(4). April 1978.
6. Bulfin, M.J., "Deaths and Near Deaths with Legal Abortions." Presented at ACOG Convention, Oct. 1975.
7. Simon, N.M., and Sentuvia, A.G., "Psychiatric Sequelae of Abortion," Arch Gen Psych 15, Oct. 1966.
8. Peterson, P., Hannover Medical School, in Deutsches Arzteblatt.
9. Francke, L.B., The Ambivalence of Abortion, Random House, 1978.
10. Wren, B.G., "Cervical Incompetence: Aetiscogy and Management," Med J Aust 1146, Dec. 29, 1973.
11. Kibel, H.D., "Staff Reactions to Abortion, A Psychiatrist's View," Ob Gyn 39(1), Jan. 1972.
12. Quay, E.A., "Doctors Note Serious Side Effects on Women Following Abortion," The Wanderer, Nov. 16, 1978.
13. Sands, W.L., "Psychiatric History and Mental Status," Diagnosing Mental Illness: Evaluation in Psychiatry and Psychology, Freedman and Kaplan, eds. Atheneum, 1973.
14. Niswander, K.R., and Patterson, R.N., "Psychologic Reaction to Therapeutic Abortion," Ob Gyn 29, May 1967.
15. Blumberg, B.D., et al., "The Psychological Sequelae of Abortion Performed for Genetic Indication," Am J Ob Gyn 122(7), Aug. 1975.
16. Ekblad, M., "Induced Abortion on Psychiatric Grounds, A Follow-up Study of 479 Women," Acta Psychiat Neurol Scand Suppl 99:238, 1955.
17. Kotasek, A., "Artificial Termination of Pregnancy in Czechoslovakia," Int J Gynaec Obstet 9, May 1971.
18. Cowell, C.A., "Problems of Adolescent Abortion," Orthopanel 14, Ortho Pharmaceutical Corp.
19. "Abortion and Suicide," NRL News, March 11, 1982.
20. Tishler, C.L., "Abortion and Suicide," Pediatrics, Nov. 1981.
21. Spaulding, J.G., and Cavenar, J.G., Jr., "Psychoses Following Therapeutic Abortion," Amer J Psychiatry, 135(3), March 1978.
MAJOR STUDIES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL ILL EFFECTS OF INDUCED ABORTION
Compiled by Dr. Vincent Rue and American Life League, Inc.
Abortion is poor treatment or prevention for mental illness. Sim, M., "Abortion and the Psychiatrist," British Medical Journal, vol. 2, 1963, pp. 145-148.
Abortion increases bitterness toward men, especially the father. White, R., "Induced Abortion: A Survey of Their Psychiatric Implications, Complications, and Indications," Texas Reports in Biology and Medicine, vol. 24, 1966, pp. 531-535.
More motherly and more mature women feel more post-abortion guilt. Pare, C., and Hermione, R., "Follow-Up of Patients Referred for Termination of Pregnancy," The Lancet, vol. 1, 1970, pp. 635-637.
The stress from previous abortions can delay preparation for subsequent child-bearing and retard the mother-child bond formation. Colman, A., and Colman, L., Pregnancy: The Psychological Experience, Herder and Herder, New York, 1971.
Clinical study suggesting post-abortion anxiety and disruption of marital sexual relations. Calef, V., "The Hostility of Parents to Children: Some Notes on Infertility, Child Abuse, and Abortions," International Journal of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, vol. 1, 1972, pp. 79-96.
Self-reported negative abortion reactions were associated with being single, young and lacking support from partner and parents. Bracken, M., and Suiger, M., "Factors Associated With Delay in Seeking Induced Abortions," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 113, 1972, pp. 301-309.
Sixteen percent of abortion patients were judged unhappy and 25 percent expressed guilt. Osofsky, J., and Osofsky, H., "The Psychological Reaction of Patients to Legalized Abortions," American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 42, 1972, pp. 48-60.
Fifteen percent of post-abortion adolescents expressed adverse feelings of depression, guilt, anger and anxiety. Perez-Reyes, M., and Falk, R., "Follow-Up after Therapeutic Abortion in Early Adolescence," Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 28, 1973, pp. 120-126.
Reported on increased emotional difficulties in second-trimester abortion patients, noting that those women who perceived the fetus as a human being, i.e., baby, felt guilty or sad. Kaltreider, N., "Psychological Factors in Midtrimester Abortions," Psychiatry and Medicine, vol. 4, 1973, pp. 129-134.
Nineteen percent of post-abortion patients expressed immediate negative reactions, especially if there is prior history of emotional disturbance. Ewing, J., and Rouse, B., "Therapeutic Abortions and a Prior Psychiatric History," American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 130, 1973, pp. 37-40.
Women who abort were found to be low in self-esteem. Hutcherson, J., "The Self-Concept of Women at the Time of Elective Abortion," Dissertation Abstracts International, vol. 33, 1973, 5493.
Abortion, especially second-trimester saline procedures, does little to reduce anxiety. Lawrence, W., "Anxiety-Adjustment and Other Personality Factors in Teenage Patients Before and After Abortion," Proceedings of the 81st Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 1973, pp. 413-414.
Post-abortion mourning period correlated with heavy decision influence by parents, peers and partners. Barglow, P., and Weinstein, S., "Therapeutic Abortion During Adolescence: Psychiatric Observations," Journal of Youth Adolescence, vol. 4, 1973, pp. 331-342.
Negative abortion adjustment related to emotional involvement in pregnancy, few close friends, poor parental relations, and no support from sex partner. Martin, C., "Psychological Problems of Abortion for the Unwed Teenage Girl," Genetic Psychiatric Monographs, vol. 88, 1973, pp. 23-110.
Review of abortion literature finding severe guilt in 2 to 23 percent of patients. Moore-Caver, E., "The International Inventory on Information on Induced Abortion," International Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, Columbia University, 1974.
Lack of parental emotional support to aborting daughters or pressure by parents for abortion were associated with negative reactions. Bracken, M.; Hachamovitch, M., and Grossman, G., "The Decision to Abort and Psychological Sequelae," Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, vol. 158, 1974, pp. 154-162.
Higher rate of depression for genetic versus elective abortion, plus post-abortion family disharmony and flashbacks. Blumberg, B.; Golbus, M.; and Hanson, K.; "The Psychological Sequelae of Abortion Performed for Genetic Indication," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 2, 1975, pp. 215-224.
Some post-abortion patients experience relief and happiness with guilt, shame, fear, loss, anger, resentment, depression or remorse. Adler, N., "Emotional Responses of Women Following Therapeutic Abortion," American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, vol. 5, 1975, pp. 446-454.
Twenty percent regretted the abortion experience. Conservatism, religious affiliation, and pressure to abort were highly related. Evans, J.; Selstad, G.; and Welcehr, W.; "Teenagers: Fertility Control Behavior and Attitudes Before and After Abortion, Childbearing or Negative Pregnancy Test," Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 8, 1976, pp. 192-200.
Repeat aborters experienced acute obsessive-compulsive reactions to viewing the limp fetus. Lipper, S., et al., "Obsessive-Compulsive Neurosis After Viewing the Fetus During Therapeutic Abortion," American Journal of Psychotherapy, vol. 30, 1976, pp. 666-674.
Twelve percent of aborted women experienced negative psychological reactions with three percent attempting suicide. Psychiatric patients pre-abortion were three times as likely to require therapy post-abortion. Greenglass, E., "Therapeutic Abortion and Psychiatric Disturbance in Canadian Women," Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal, vol. 21, 1976, pp. 45-460.
Psychological profile of women who had aborted identified traits of dominance, aggressiveness, nurturance and autonomy suggesting a sado-masochistic orientation. Jacobsen, L.; Perris, L.; and Esquall, M.; "Personality Patterns in Induced Abortion" in Kalmar, R., Abortion: The Emotional Implications. Kendall Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa, 1977, pp. 5-16.
Abortions in patients' histories were major precipitants in seeking psychotherapy, including vicarious suicide. Kent, I., "Emotional Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion." Presented to 27th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, September, 1977.
Abortion patients utilize denial of aggressiveness and projection onto unborn child. Burkle, F., "A Developmental Approach to Post-Partum Abortion Depression," Practitioner, vol. 218, 1977, pp. 217-225.
Being married was highly correlated with a difficult abortion decision. Fifteen percent of the sample experienced a difficult abortion decision, anxiety, depression and pain. Bracken, M., "A Causal Model of Psychosomatic Reactions to Vacuum Aspiration," Social Psychiatry, vol. 13, 1978, pp. 135-145.
Evidence of underlying psychological conflict in women seeking abortion and 34 percent had underlying conflictual wish to be pregnant. Blumenfield, M., "Psychological Factors Involved in Request for Elective Abortion," Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, vol. 39, 1978, pp. 17-25.
Post-abortion guilt and psychoses, and consternation and anniversary reactions. Spaulding, J., and Cavenar, J., "Psychoses Following Therapeutic Abortion," American Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 135, 1978, pp. 364-365.
Describes psychiatric sequelae of abortion in potential grandparents and other family members, and psychogenic problems post-abortion for some women for 20 years after the procedure. Cavenar, J.; Maltbie, A.; and Sullivan, J.; "Psychiatric Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion," North Carolina Medical Journal, vol. 39, 1978, pp. 101-104.
Report of psychogenic abdominal pain after abortion and anniversary reactions. Cavenar, J., "Aftermath of Abortion: Anniversary Depressions and Abdominal Pain," Bulletin of Menninger Clinic, vol. 42, 1978, pp. 433-438.
Twenty percent of sample reported negative psychic trauma. Brewer, C., "Induced Abortion after Feeling Fetal Movements: Its Causes and Emotional Consequences," Journal of Biological Social Sciences, vol. 10, 1978, pp. 203-208.
Abortion patients in therapy experienced poor relationships with men, poor impulse control and masochistic tendencies. Fisher, H., "Abortion: Pain or Pleasure?" in Mall, D., and Watts, W., eds., The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publications of America, Washington, D.C., 1979, pp. 39-52.
Positive abortion reactions were related to satisfaction with decision to abort, non-upset over pregnancy, and sharing with partner. Negative reaction with the inverse. Shusterman, L., "Predicting the Psychological Consequences of Abortion," Social Science and Medicine, vol. 13A, 1979, pp. 683-689.
Reported on the impact of abortion on family members and, in particular, the intrapsychic conflict experienced by children whose mother had aborted a pregnancy known to them. Cavenar, J.; Maltbie, A.; and Sullivan, J.; "Psychiatric Sequelae of Therapeutic Abortion," North Carolina Medical Journal, vol. 39, 1978, pp. 101-104.
Reported 24 immediate and long-term post-abortion reactions affecting self-image, relationships and future coping abilities. Liebman, M., and Zimmer, J., "The Psychological Sequelae of Abortion: Fact and Fallacy," in Mall, D., and Watts., W., eds., The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, University Publications of America, Washington, D.C., 1979, pp. 127-138.
Women most vulnerable to conflict are those who are single and nulliparous, with a previous history of emotional problems, conflictual relationships with lovers, past negative relationship with mother, strong ambivalence regarding abortion, and negative religious or cultural attitudes about abortion. Payne, Edmund, et al., "Outcome Following Therapeutic Abortion," Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 33, 1976, pp. 725-733.
Affirms negative post-abortion reaction worst for women not in a relationship. Counseling is critical. For all of Denmark, women who had abortions were considerably more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospitals than women who delivered. David, Henry; Rasmussen, Nick; and Holst, Erik; "Post-Partum and Post-Abortion Psychotic Reactions," Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 13, 1981, pp. 88-91.
The sexual partner plays an important role in making the decision about abortion. Few subjects had positive feelings about abortion and a number experienced feelings of guilt and confusion. Shaw, Paul; Funderburk, Charles; and Franklin, Billy; "An Investigation of the Abortion Decision Process," Psychology: A Quarterly Journal of Human Behavior, vol. 16, 1979, pp. 11-19.
Women seeking abortion demonstrated more psychological disturbance than other women. Few women found the decision to abort easy. Handy, Jocelyn, "Psychological and Social Aspects of Induced Abortion," British Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 22, 1982, pp. 29-41.
Women who treated abortion as a moral issue encountered considerable role and decision-making conflict. Smetana, Judith, "Reasoning in the Personal and Moral Domains: Adolescent and Young Adult Women's Decision-Making Regarding Abortion," Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, vol. 2, 1981, pp. 211-226.
Women who sought abortions scored higher than controls on neuroticism and manifest anxiety. George, E., "An Empirical Study of Medical Termination of Pregnancy," Psychological Studies, vol. 25, 1980, pp. 118-121.
Social, i.e., familial and relational, context for those seeking an abortion proved more important than demographic variables. Moseley, D., et al., "Psychological Factors that Predict Reaction to Abortion," Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 37, 1981, pp. 276-279.
Vast majority of abortion patients have fetus fantasies. Hunter, Elizabeth, "The Role of Fantasies About the Fetus in Abortion Patients: An Adaptive Process," Dissertation Abstracts International, vol. 41, 1-B, 1980, pp. 353-453.
Abortion is a stress experience. A sense of loss influences stressful, negative emotions. Responses to the experience will be a function of the nature and meaning of the pregnancy to the individual, her defensive and coping style, and her social environment. Adler, Nancy, "Abortion: A Social Psychological Perspective," Journal of Social Issues, vol. 35, 1979, pp. 100-119.
Abortion was for most an emotionally trying experience. Freeman, Ellen, "Abortion: Subjective Attitudes and Feelings," Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 10, 1978, pp. 150-155.
To minimize negative post-abortion reaction, women should seek support from significant others, be apprised of procedures, familiar with alternatives and recognize costs. Williams, Dorie, and Ventimiglia, Joseph, "Abortion or Birth? Discriminators in Problem Pregnancy Decisions," Sociological Spectrums, vol. 1, 1981, pp. 115-133.
After abortion, repeat aborters continued to have significantly higher emotional distress scores in interpersonal relationships. Freeman, Ellen, et al., "Emotional Distress Patterns among Women Having First or Repeat Abortions," Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 55, 1980, pp. 630-636.
Women who found their pregnancy highly meaningful coped worse after abortion. Women who blamed their pregnancy on their character coped poorly. Major, B., and Hildebrant, K., "Attributions, Expectations, and Coping with Abortion," Journal of Perspectives in Social Psychology, vol. 48, 1985, pp. 585-599.
Of 55 women evaluated, the average level of post-abortion stress was fairly high. Evidence indicated a "generalized stress response syndrome." "Avoiders" were found to experience more distress than "non-avoiders." Cohen, L., and Roth, S., "Coping with Abortion," Journal of Human Stress, vol. 10, 1984, pp. 140-145.
Analyzed the reactions of children in families where the mother aborted by choice following detection of fetal abnormalities. Results showed that even very young children and those sheltered from knowledge of the event showed negative reactions. Furlong, R., and Black, R., "Pregnancy Termination for Genetic Indications: The Impact on Families," Social Work Health Care, vol. 10, 1984, pp. 17-34.
Women who had a prior abortion scored higher on levels of depressive affect in the third trimester of pregnancy and in the post-partum period. Bradley, C., "Abortion in Subsequent Pregnancy,"Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 29, 1984, pp. 494-498.
Assessed familial impact of prenatal diagnosis on children. Children were stressed by the information and concerned about possibilities of detecting defects, harm to mother, and abortion. Pre-school-age children were especially vulnerable to becoming frightened by fantasies about the medical procedures. Black, R., and Furlong, R., "Impact of Prenatal Diagnosis in Families," Social Work Health Care, vol. 9, 1984, pp. 37-50.
Of 48 women who terminated their pregnancies for genetic reasons, 77 percent demonstrated acute grief reactions, and 45 percent remained symptomatic six months after the abortion. Lloyd, J., and Laurence, K., "Response to Termination of Pregnancy for Genetic Reasons," Zeitschrift Fur Kinderchirurgie, vol. 38, supplement II, 1983, pp. 98-99.
Studied 250 second-trimester abortions by dilatation and extraction (D&E) under general anesthesia, compared with abortions by intra-amniotic injection of prostaglandin (amino). Those with amnio-abortions had more pain and reacted with more anger and depression afterward. Nurses were more disturbed by amnio-abortions. Kaltreider, N.; Goldsmith, S.; and Margolis, A.; "The Impact of Midtrimester Abortion Techniques on Patients and Staff," American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 135, 1979, pp. 235-238.
Of 64 women studied, over half were affected by short-term disturbances, including guilt, regrets and sensitivity to comments from others regarding the abortion. Ashton, J., "The Psychosocial Outcome of Induced Abortion," British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol. 87, 1980, pp. 1115-1122.
This survey showed that persistent adverse psychological and social reactions may be much more common in patients aborting for genetic rather than "social" indications. Donnai, P.; Charles, N.; and Harris, R.; "Attitudes of Patients After 'Genetic' Termination of Pregnancy," British Journal of Medicine, vol. 282, 1981, pp. 621-622.
Case analysis of the evolution of a woman's conversion disorder (urinary retention) in response to a decision to abort. Concluded that a variety of psychological disorders may go undetected concerning abortion and present themselves as "unrelated" physical complaints without organic bases. Tollefson, G., and Garvey, M., "Conversion Disorder Following Termination of Pregnancy," Journal of Family Practice, vol. 16, 1983, pp. 73-77.
119 primiparae were interviewed during the 12th and 36th weeks of pregnancy. In a significant proportion of these expectant mothers there is an association between depression and anxiety early in pregnancy and a previous history of induced abortion suggesting a reactivation of mourning that was previously suppressed. Kumar, R., and Robson, K., "Previous Induced Abortion and Antenatal Depression in Primiparae: Preliminary Report of a Survey of Mental Health in Pregnancy," Psychological Medicine, vol. 8, 1978, pp. 711-715.
Induced abortion is a stressing experience and may for some women be traumatic. The psychotherapist who might be overly influenced by pro-choice statistics and the feminist socio-political climate may unconsciously ignore or minimize the importance of the abortion experience for certain kinds of patients in pain. Mester, R., "Induced Abortion in Psychotherapy," Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, vol. 30, 1978, pp. 98-104.
Children who have siblings terminated by abortion may have psychological conflicts similar to those of children who survive disasters or siblings who die of accidents or illness. Ney, P., "A Consideration of Abortion Survivors," Child Psychiatry in Human Development, vol. 13, 1983, pp. 168-179.
Sex guilt was found to be significantly higher for women who have undergone abortions than for nonpregnant women. Gerrard, M., "Sex Guilt in Abortion Patients," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, vol. 45, 1977, p. 708.
Data from 252 women who underwent reproductive problems (including abortion) revealed increased depression and stress, which improved as the subjects learned more about the problem and drew closer to their families and others with similar problems. Baker, M., and Quinkert, K., "Women's Reactions to Reproductive Problems," Psychological Reports, vol. 53, 1983, pp. 159-166.
Women who aborted were less tied to their partners than women who delivered. Abortion recipients who had strong, loving relationships with their partners experienced greater post-abortion emotional reactions and dissatisfaction than those abortion recipients with weaker relationships. Robbins, J., "Out of Wedlock, Abortion and Delivery: The Importance of the Male Partner," Social Problems, vol. 31, 1984, pp. 334-350.
In-depth research interviews with 30 women who were identified as having chronic and long-term high- stress reactions to their abortion experience. Speckhard, Anne, Ph.D., Psycholo-social Stress Following Abortion, Sheed and Ward, 1987, 134 pages.
A research study of 93 different commentaries prepared on the psychological ramifications of abortion in the literature, prepared with expert commentary and analysis. Reardon, David, Aborted Women: Silent No More, Chapter 4: "The Psychological Impact of Abortion," Crossways Books, 1987, pp. 115-142.
A comprehensive annotated bibliography detailing 750 references from the medical and social literature on the adverse effects of abortion. Strahan, Thomas W., Esq., Major Articles and Books Concerning the Detrimental Effects of Abortion, 1990, Rutherford Institute, 123 pages.
Post-abortion research study based upon 195 completed self-reported client questionnaires, November, 1988 - December, 1990. Gsellman, Lee, M.A., NCC, Akron Pregnancy Services, 1/1/91, 3 pages. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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