The Negative Psychological Effects An Abortion Can Have On Women

Getting an honest discussion on the negative psychological effect an abortion can have on women is a difficult task. This is because the prevailing mainstream culture in the West is currently being controlled by those of a Liberal and Progressive persuasion. As a result, abortion trauma, or abortion related PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is considered to be a myth by many. A lot of women suffering from the symptoms of abortion trauma don’t even realize that their issues are related to the pain of a past abortion.

A number of studies looking into the negative psychological effects of an abortion have been done. Proponents of abortion have done studies seeking to disprove the premise, and opposers of abortion have done studies seeking to prove the premise. However, abortion is a deeply emotional and personal thing, and as with most things that are emotional, it is very difficult to set up a foolproof scientific method of investigation.

For example, there is a well known study done by a group of pro abortion researchers from the University of California San Francisco. The Turnaway Study, which is often cited by the media, followed a group of women who had had an abortion and compared them to another group who had wanted an abortion, but were turned away (mostly because they were too far along in their pregnancy). This research concluded that 95% of the women who had abortions did not regret them five years later.

The problem with this study was that only 38% of the women who had been asked to participate in the study actually took part in it. It is quite reasonable to believe that the women who dropped out would have been the ones who felt negatively about their abortion. Additionally, five years may not have been enough time for many of the women to have processed the death of their aborted baby. Many psychologists believe that this can take even a whole decade.

To have a pure scientific study done on this, one would need to have a randomly selected group of women to have abortions. This would obviously be unethical because you would essentially be forcing a group of women to have abortions. And also, scientifically speaking, that would taint the results because many women who have been forced into an abortion would automatically have a negative psychological reaction to it.

Taking all this into consideration, the fair thing to do is to ensure that women are well informed on all the potential negatives they may be exposing themselves to when they elect to have an abortion.

The following is a list of some of the negative psychological effects an abortion can have on a woman:

  • If the abortion was forced on the woman, she may experience it as a traumatic event. A fight or flight mechanism kicks in where she may have exaggerated startle responses, anxiety attacks, irritability, hypervigilance, and finding difficulty in falling and staying asleep.
  • The woman could momentarily relive the abortion experience during unwanted and unexpected times. She may get intrusive thoughts about the aborted child. She may have nightmares about the abortion or the child. On the anniversary of the abortion or on the due date of the aborted pregnancy, she may have a reaction of intense grief or depression.
  • The woman may develop avoidance behavior where she attempts to avoid any kind of stimuli connected with the trauma. She will typically deny and avoid people, places or things that aggravate the negative feelings she has associated with the trauma. This can mean an inability to recall important details of the abortion or the withdrawal from certain relationships and sometimes even the avoidance of children.
  • The woman may experience increased thoughts of suicide and many actually go through with suicide attempts. This is especially true for very young women.
  • The woman may have an increased likelihood of substance abuse. This means more drinking, more smoking and more drug abuse.
  • The woman may have problems forming long lasting bonds with a male partner. This may be due to feelings of unworthiness, a general distrust of males or sexual dysfunction. She is more likely to become a single parent.

Many women struggling with these issues don’t even realize that the root cause could be the pain of a past abortion. Mental health can be stigmatized in society. Challenges such as depression, anxiety and addictions can be considered to be weaknesses or a flaw in character, so people facing them don’t usually talk about it. This means that they cannot get the help they need and very importantly, they can’t caution others from repeating their mistakes.

A more honest conversation definitely needs to be had and women need to be informed that these things can and do happen with an abortion.

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