A post-abortive woman from Buenos Aires, Argentina recently shared her abortion experience with Humans of New York. She wanted an abortion for many of the reasons that society tells women they should have abortions, but in the end, it would turn out to be the worst moment of her life:
I didn’t want to be a mother. I was eighteen. We weren’t in love. I had goals I wanted to accomplish. So I made the hardest decision of my life. It’s not legal here. So I researched it on the Internet. I did it myself. In my room. If things had gone wrong, I could have died. Seeing it come out of me was the worst moment of my life. And I couldn’t tell anyone. Not even my parents. So I carried the secret with me. I felt like this thing was always in my chest, but it was stuck there. All day I’d act normal. Then at night I’d go to my room and cry.
This woman, like so many others, is probably suffering from post-abortion syndrome. Most likely not realizing just how developed her child was at the time of her self-inflicted abortion, she was horrified at what she saw once the abortion was complete and her child had died. Fear had caused her to abort her child and now fear was causing her to keep the abortion and the brief life of her child a secret from her family.
Post-abortion syndrome, also known as post-abortion stress syndrome, is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Whether a woman has had numerous abortions as her own choice, has been coerced to abort, or believed that she had no choice other than abortion, she can suffer from the aftermath of the traumatic experience of ending the life of her child. Symptoms can include guilt, anxiety or panic attacks, depression, inability to bond with future children, eating disorders, alcohol and drug use, and thoughts of suicide. These symptoms may appear immediately after an abortion or not until years later.
A 2011 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that women who have had abortions have a 61 percent increased risk of mood disorders as well as a 261 percent increased risk of alcohol misuse and a 313 percent increased risk of drug misuse. In addition, they show a 61 percent increased risk of social phobia, and a 59 percent increased risk of suicidal thoughts.
Fortunately, there is help for women experiencing the emotional and psychological effects of abortion through groups such as Rachel’s Vineyard and Surrender the Secret. Jill Marquis is a post-abortive mother who found healing through Surrender the Secret and went on to help other women do the same. Marquis told Live Action that her abortion caused her to keep her future children at arm’s length, never feeling truly bonded to them until she found help. She spent years trying to fill that hole in her heart with alcohol.
“Nobody told me,” she explains, “that it might come back to you when you have the ultrasound of the children you want to have. There I was looking at this ultrasound of the baby growing inside me and [I was] screaming in my mind that that was a baby you aborted. A baby that you killed. I stuffed it down for a very long time and tried to silence that voice. Looking back on that decision it was the most selfish thing I ever did in my life because it was all about me wanting to live life on my terms.”
Unfortunately, pro-abortion groups and activists argue that post-abortion syndrome does not exist, which does nothing to help the women who are suffering. Many of the comments on the Humans of New York Facebook post regarding the post-abortive Argentinian woman were focused on the fact that abortion should be legal in the country in order to ensure that women don’t perform their own abortions. They completely ignored the fact that the woman isn’t suffering because she performed her own abortion, but because of the psychological effects the abortion had on her, which would have easily happened if the abortion had been performed legally by an abortionist. Instead of working to find ways to help women suffering after an abortion, they continue to argue that abortion should be legal.
It is important to note that Planned Parenthood does not provide post-abortion support to women. They simply take their money for the abortion and send the women on their way, happy to be making steps towards meeting their abortion quota.
It is also important to note that when abortion was first made legal in the United States, the argument that women were dying from self-induced abortions was based on lies. Former abortionist and founder of NARAL Dr. Bernard Nathanson became pro-life and admitted that in order to make abortion legal, he and his colleagues lied about the number of women who died from “back-alley abortions” and claimed that the number of illegal abortions was ten times higher than it actually was.
“We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions,” he said in an interview. “The actual figure was closer to 200 to 300 and we also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception.”
While this woman in Argentina suffers, countless American women are also suffering at the hands of legal abortion. That’s because abortion, whether legal or illegal, causes the death of an innocent human being. Anyone who realizes this and has an abortion is going to suffer as a result, no matter what the law is. Women need real support and telling them that killing their children is acceptable doesn’t solve their problems; it only creates new ones.