Abortion is a personal choice; however, it has psychological as well as physical effects on the mother. Abortion has an impact on everyone. Although it effects women the most, it is also seen in fathers, grandparents and children. Even medical personnel involved in the abortion industry have reported that they suffered from negative effects. They may witness the reactions of their loved ones and feel the pain as well.
At least 70 percent of women having abortions say they believe it is immoral. They choose against their conscience because of pressure from others and their circumstances. Most women choose abortion out of fear. A fear of not being able to raise a child, a fear of losing their partner if they do not have an abortion, and a fear of losing control over their lives. Some polls show that more than 80 percent say they would have completed their pregnancies under better circumstances or with more support from the people they love. It’s because so many women who abort are acting against their consciences and instincts that the psychological impact of abortion can be so extreme.
“About 10 percent of women expressed very little or no concern at all about the abortion and the other 90 percent had some distress, heartache, and remorse,” (Brauning 5). Many women suffer in silence because they are afraid to tell anyone about their pain due to the abortion’s social stigma. “Women feel worthless and victimized because they failed at the most natural of human activities, the role of being a mother,” (Franz 1).
Men are also post-abortive sufferers. They feel angry, guilty, and most of all they feel powerless. Some say the worst thing they have ever done was to encourage their girlfriend to have an abortion. “Men everywhere reported that abortion is a horrendous and heartbreaking experience, whether they oppose or support the decision to abort,” (Brauning 9). Men involved in abortions have reported many problems, like some say, were a direct result of the abortion experience, including broken relationships, sexual dysfunction, substance abuse, self-hate, suicidal behavior, increased feelings of grief over time, feelings of helplessness, depression, greater tendencies toward becoming violent, and a sense of lost manhood.
If the abortion takes place before the marriage, with a person other than the spouse, it can still have an impact on the person involved who brings this emotional baggage into the relationship. This will be a problem if the person keeps the abortion a secret from their spouse, who will not understand their emotional problems. Secrets can be devastating to a marriage, since they keep a person from giving and receiving unconditional love. If the abortion takes place within the marriage, it can be a start for anger and resentment between the spouses. They are more likely to feel resentment, anger, and rage toward each other.
The children of women who have abortions also suffer. When siblings don’t get an explanation, confusion may make the child some how feel responsible for the loss. On the other hand, if the child becomes aware that his mother chose to get rid of his or her sibling, he may begin to fear his mother. ” When a child hears mother has gotten rid of baby brother or sister, for whatever reason, this makes him dread things in the home,” (Koop 7). Medical personnel suffer from negative effects as well. They get nightmares of experience.
Many women suffer from psychological aftereffects of abortion. These complication are called post-abortion syndrome, or PAS. Some of the behavior which come in part because of PAS are recurrent memories dreams and repetitions of the abortion experience, avoiding emotional attachment, relationship problems, sleep disturbances, guilt about surviving when the unborn child died, memory impairment, hostile outbursts, suicidal thoughts or actions, and substance abuse. The definition for PAS is a type of pattern of denial which may last for five to ten years before emotional difficulties come about. Now that some clinicians have established that there is an identifiable pattern to PAS, they face a new challenge. Some women begin to suffer from PAS right after their abortions. For others, the symptoms may not begin to appear for many months or years after the abortion. Often a major event, such as the birth of another child, can trigger PAS in a woman.
Every woman is different. They each have different responses in different time frames. Some women hold or are unaware of any aftereffects for many years. Commonly reported reactions include: feelings of shame, anxiety, helplessness, grief or remorse, uncontrollable crying, anger, bitterness, and resentment feelings such as: distrust and betrayal, lowered self-esteem, avoidance of babies, small children, or anything to do with pregnancy, fear of future pregnancies or flashbacks to the abortion experience. Other reactions include sleeping disorders, depression, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, problems bonding with other children, suicidal thoughts, and other problems. Many women don’t understand their feelings of anger or guilt for several years after their abortions. They find themselves in self-destructive lifestyles like drug or alcohol use. They sometimes become a part of abusive relationships. A woman who is self-destructive or suicidal, but afraid to deliberately harm herself, may be more likely to become involved with a violent man. She may feel that she deserves to be punished because of her abortion. Because her abortion has destroyed her self-esteem, she may think that she does not deserve a better relationship than the abusive one she is in. The most troubling concern of domestic violence counselors is that so many abused women stay in abusive relationships. In many of these cases, the best explanation for this behavior may be found in the self-punishing aspects of post-abortion trauma. The bad part is that they don’t know why or how they got there.
The emotional risks of abortions are very concerning. Although, the most common critical risk is spiritual destruction. Women are faced with experiencing soul-deep scars. In some cases, a woman may even get pregnant again to replace the child she aborted. Even then, the soul-deep scars are still present. Delayed reactions are often triggered by life events such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or even a religious conversion.
Many women have “anniversary reactions” such as anxiety attacks, depression, suicidal impulses, or abdominal cramping, around the anniversary date or month of the abortion or around the time when their babies would have been due.
A major problem is that women may feel unable to share their grief with others. When they turn to people who are “pro-choice”, they will probably be told, “Forget about it. It wasn’t really a baby yet, so there’s nothing to feel bad about.” Such comforting words actually deny the reality of one’s grief and delays the healing process. On the other hand, women and men are likely to feel afraid to share their pain with people on “pro-life” side because they fear they will be rejected and condemned. As a result, women and men who are struggling with a past abortion are likely to feel “boxed” on both sides. This is why so many carry the burden of their grief alone, and this burden can place an enormous strain on their ability to function and relate to others.
Abortion is a surgical procedure and carries certain risks. There are significant risks involved in legal abortions. There are more than one hundred immediate physical effects associated with abortions. Some of the effects include pain. Abortion is a painful procedure unless the mother is anesthetized, which costs extra. Infections are a big factor in abortions. Anytime body fluids are involved in a procedure you run the risk of developing Hepatitis A, B, or C. Also, you can contract HIV. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, a typical infection involving the fallopian tubes, is difficult to manage and it may cause infertility. The tearing of the cervix may occur during the abortion. Since the cervix tightens up while you are pregnant, in order to get the suction tube and other instruments to the uterus, the cervix is dilated and forced open, which can tear the cervix. The tearing can cause miscarriages for future pregnancies. There has been times when a woman pays for an abortion only to find out a few weeks later that she is still pregnant. There have been many times that the baby is born alive during an abortion. Severe bleeding also occurs after abortions because the perforating of the uterus or the tearing of the cervix causes extreme bleeding. The bleeding may be severe enough to require a transfusion and may possibly cause death. Today, women do die from legal abortions. The leading causes of death from abortions were hemorrhage from uterine bleeding, generalized infection, and blood clots in the lungs. There has been abortions done on women who are not even pregnant.
Getting accurate statistics on abortion complications is difficult. The rates are accepted as under reported. Reporting an abortion is strictly voluntary in most states. In many cases, abortionists don’t even know complications occur, because many women do not contact them if they experience problems. Also, many women fail to return to their follow-up appointments.
Despite the use of local anesthesia, 97 percent of women having abortions reported experiencing pain during the procedure. More than a third of the women described the pain as intense, severe, or very severe. Compared to other pains, they say the pain of abortion is more painful than a bone fracture, the same as cancer pain, though it’s not as painful as an amputation but can be close.
Women who may appear physically unaffected by an abortion after a one year follow-up exam may be found to be severely affected by abortion as many as 10 to 15 years later. Long-term physical effects include sterility, because of such early complications as infection after an abortion, the uterus is often scarred. If the scar tissue covers the opening from the tube to the uterus, then the tiny sperm cannot reach the egg. Fertilization cannot occur. After infection, damage to the cervix is the next leading cause of post-abortion reproductive problems. Normally the cervix is tightly closed during pregnancy. However, during abortion the cervix undergoes tremendous stress and is often torn, resulting in permanent weakening. In a later “wanted” pregnancy this may result in the cervix opening prematurely.
Another long-term physical effect is Ectopic pregnancies. If the scar tissue covers the openings from the fallopian tube to the uterus only partially, then the sperm will be able to reach the egg (baby) begins to grow and move toward the uterus. The fertilized egg is too large to get from the fallopian tube to the uterus opening because of the scar tissue blocking part of the opening. The baby continues to grow inside the tube, eventually causing the tube to burst. If surgery is not done to remove the baby, then the mother will die.
There is a strong evidence that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. “There is a clear relationship documented in medical journals showing that women who abort their first pregnancy are at a much higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who carry their pregnancy to term,” (Dr. Brind 3). An analysis of all studies done to date shows that women who have miscarriages or abortions before the first live birth initially have a 50% higher risk to get breast cancer than women who do not. Because of the rapid growth of breast tissue in early pregnancy, a forced premature cessation of pregnancy creates an unnatural condition. Women who have first trimester abortions face twice the risk of contracting breast cancer as those who miscarry or complete their pregnancies and give birth.
Extensive research into complications of abortion has been difficult because most abortion clinics do not provide follow-up exams. Due to this, many effects do not show up for years. Since there is no follow-ups many women don’t know anything is wrong with them until later on which by then it may be worse. Many women are scared to enter the clinics after having their abortion because it will bring them back memories. Also, they would be scared because they are afraid of what the abortionists might tell them.
Many post-abortive women have also been speaking out publicly about their own abortion experiences and the healing process they went through. Some women force themselves into prayer. Also, they commit themselves into going to church every Sunday. Women are afraid to admit they have had an abortion and deny it for many years. There are many places where women can go to after they have had an abortion to express themselves. At this point they are definitely feeling scared, but they loosen up when they are expressing themselves to other women who have been through the same thing. They thought they would be alone for whatever reason it may have been, but in reality there are people to talk to and places to go.