The documentary “Life After Abortion” collected the stories of post-abortive women, all of whom told of suffering severe feelings of loss, depression, guilt, and grief due to their abortions. One woman said that the abortion workers were very nice to her before her abortion, but after the abortion, once they had her money and she’d gone through with it, their demeanor changed.
“The nurses that were so nice before, they weren’t nice anymore,” she said. “There was a significant difference in the way I was treated… I was made to feel like I had done something horrible and awful and of course, it’s because I did.”
Another woman said, “I felt empty, and I would cry. And I couldn’t understand my feelings. This was my right, to do this. All the feminists said it’s my body, my right. This was gonna help me. Why didn’t I feel that way?”
For many women, their distress lasted years, or never went away at all. One woman recalled, “They said my life would get back to normal again. But it’s never been back to normal again.”
One woman said:
For 13 years I tried to deny it. I tried to forget it. I tried to walk away from that horrible memory. But I couldn’t. It followed me all the way through my life. It affected every area of my life. It affected me as a woman, as a mother, as a wife.
Other women developed dysfunctional behavior to try and cope. One said, “As time went on, my heart got more and more empty. And I tried more and more things to try to fill it up. More drugs, more work, more accomplishments, another degree at school. Increasingly dysfunctional relationships.”
Another woman said, “[I] tried to get on with my life. And that looks like overeating and undereating, drinking, promiscuity, I had nightmares. I became depressed. I felt anxious and ashamed.”
Several women had “anniversary reactions.” For example, one woman said, “Every year, on that anniversary day of my abortion, I would go into depression for about a three-week period. Every time I heard the word “abortion”, I would break down in tears and just cry.”
One woman found it hard to nurture her other child:
When I decided to have this abortion, my son was six months old, and I can remember after coming home from the abortion clinic, my son was crying, and I was in so much pain I couldn’t hold him. And I knew that even that day, something in our relationship changed. I couldn’t comfort him, I couldn’t love on him like a normal mother any longer.
One woman learned the truth about her abortion in a horrible way — she had a miscarriage in her next pregnancy, and saw the truth about fetal development:
Around five years after my abortion, I got married, and we started trying right away to have a baby. My longing for a child to replace the one I aborted was very strong, and I was very excited to find out I was pregnant.
When I was around 10 weeks along, I started bleeding, and I was told that my baby’s heart had stopped beating, and I had a miscarriage. I was told I would pass a plum-sized clot, and that is not what happened.
I went into labor in a restaurant, I passed out trying to get my Tylenol with codeine, and I went home to my apartment, with my husband, and I delivered that baby into my hand. I remember looking at this child in my hand and seeing tiny fingers, toes, an arm, a leg, a precious face, and a tiny little rump. And I remember screaming, “My baby! My baby! My baby!” And I realized I had killed one as precious as this.
Four other women learned the truth about fetal development when they saw ultrasounds of later, wanted pregnancies. For example, one stated:
The hardest part of that was seeing those ultrasounds. When he was eight weeks in the womb, which was the time when I terminated my first child, I had to see that. I got to see what I did. And although those ultrasounds were wonderful to look at, they were extremely bittersweet because they brought to my attention the life that I had taken. The heart was beating. He was sucking his thumb, pushing his hand against my belly, and all I kept thinking about was what I had done to his older sibling.
There on the ultrasound, I saw my little girl. I saw her heart beating. I saw her arms and her legs. And it hit me – that is life! How can anyone deny that that is life?
And then the horror of what I had done to my two babies hit me. And I thought, “That woman, so many years ago, lied to me! That is not a clump of cells. That is life!”
These women (and many more) suffered trauma after their abortions.
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