Most pro-abortion activists deny that women suffer emotionally after abortion. Pro-choicers claim “post-abortion syndrome” is a myth and that most women feel only relief. They often point to flawed studies based on questionnaires that claim only a small minority of women have emotional problems after abortion. These studies almost always cover a very brief length of time– usually just weeks or months after the abortion. They also have biased sample selection and a high attrition rate, with many women dropping out between the first and last questionnaires. The results of these studies, therefore, are questionable.
Most pro-abortion activists claim women don’t suffer after abortion. But some medical professionals acknowledge that women do suffer post-abortion trauma. A 2014 textbook for abortionists, “Abortion Care,” admits that women can be traumatized by their abortions and that they sometimes need therapy, even many years later:
Women and men can suffer the full impact of perinatal bereavement after an abortion. The unique aspect of grief connected with abortion is that there is no tangible person to mourn. … Therapists can find that buried feelings from past negative experience of miscarriage or abortion may surface years later …
Some women recognize a need for postabortion counseling prior to the abortion. Others may feel that they do not deserve any support, as they have been responsible for “taking” a life and may not return for postabortion follow up of any sort.
Women need to know that they can go for counseling days, weeks, months or years after the abortion. Some will feel numb afterwards and only begin to question their decision or feel unhappy when they reach a significant milestone, e.g. anniversary of the abortion, or the due date had the pregnancy continued.1
Therapist Joy Gardner wrote a 1986 book in which she said, “I believe that the philosophy of so-called pro-life is a dangerous attitude which I must oppose.”2 Yet this pro-abortion writer also tells women who have had abortions that it most certainly is a “death” and a “loss”:
Even if you never wanted a child, there’s still something very sad about having an abortion. For most women, this is a death. It is a loss. It is a sadness. At first, they may deny this, but sooner or later it’s likely to catch up with them.
I see many women who took their abortions lightly, but even 30 or 40 years later, they find themselves thinking, “How would my life be if I had that baby now?” Even then, it’s not too late for them to express their grief, to cry for the daughter or the son they never had.3
An abortionist writing in Ms. magazine also mentions grief after an abortion: “We recognize that abortion represents a pregnancy loss. We encourage women to grieve for this loss in any way that feels appropriate.”4 Ms. has a long history of advocating for abortion.
These pro-choice sources and individuals all admit that some women — and men — grieve after their abortions, even many years later. Pro-lifers have been saying this for decades.
- Sam Rowlands editor Abortion Care Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014) 48, 49
- Joy Gardner A Difficult Decision: A Compassionate Book about Abortion, revised second ed. (Freedom, Canada: The Crossing Press, 1986) 53
- Gardner, 86
- Anonymous “I Am an Abortion Doctor” Ms.June – July 1999
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