What kinds of experiences do women have after an abortion?

Here’s an essay about post-abortion trauma from Public Discourse. (H/T RuthBlog)


Many of these women cannot go outside for fear of “triggers”—the sight or sound of things that will bring back the abortion experience and cause panic attacks. Triggers include the sound of a vacuum cleaner (many abortions are done by the vacuuming out of the fetus from the uterus) or the music that was playing at the abortion clinic while the abortion was being performed. The sight of pregnant women, or maternity clothes, or babies, or toddlers, or school-children, or of the place (even the neighborhood or town) where the abortion took place can all serve as triggers. Other triggers are anniversaries of all kinds, especially of the abortion and of the EBD (expected birth date), and, in particular, Mother’s Day.

What is particularly striking is that most of the women who have these powerful emotional reactions to their abortion are stunned by them. They were not opposed to abortion; many were actively pro-choice. They were blind-sided by their own reaction. One woman lamented—and thousands of others echo her mystified anguish—“If this was the right decision, why do I feel so terrible?”

Research indicates that there are various psychological or political factors that may contribute to this disconnect between the anticipated and the actual emotional outcome. Since this disturbing phenomenon is so widespread, and found among women from varied backgrounds and different parts of the world, it seems likely that the brain itself—in particular, the nature of women’s brains—may shed some particularly useful light on this unexpected negative emotional reaction.

The authors go on to list various types of trauma. One of the co-authors is Dr. Paul C. Vitz, who wrote an amazing book on why people become atheists. Here’s an essay on the topic. I’ve got the book – it came all shrink-wrapped! Weird.

You may also be interested in the New Zealand study on abortion and women’s mental health that I blogged about before.

10 thoughts on “What kinds of experiences do women have after an abortion?”

  1. I have a book I bought back in the eighties that talks about this. Still have it.

    My pastor, back then, opened the first Crisis Pregnancy Centers in our areas and I took classes on how to counsel women about abortion, but never used them because my husband and I moved from the area.

    My parents are members of a board for a home for girls who choose to have their babies instead of abort, and have been abandoned by those who should have supported them.

    In abortion, there ARE two victims.
    One dies (is murdered).
    The other is wounded for life, if she doesn’t get the help she needs.

    The better thing is to avoid the abortion all together.
    And the best thing is to not get pregnant in the first place.
    So simple, yet so elusive to our culture blinded by the “I have a right to have sex however, whenever, with whomever I wish” lie.


      1. Sure, Wintery. If I were a man and this happened to me, I could imagine it would be painful. But I’d never be able to imagine how much unless I actually went through it.

        Abortion is a bad deal all the way around.
        It’s so frustrating that more people can’t see that.


        1. They want to be happy and not to have any limits set on their conduct, no matter how much damage it causes. And there is a certain group that considers pre-marital sex to be a good thing that has a lot of political power. Remember the Miriam Grossmann lecture on sex education? She’s nailed it.


          1. Yep, it’s pretty rampant in our culture, all the way around. Not just in the sex education and feminist sector.

            (resisting urge to put a very sad link in here to make a point. resisting, resisting, resisting…)



            And Heritage Foundation, no less. So I know it’s solid. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!

            I’m afraid that I have to insist that you send me more post ideas now, though.


  2. This morning I listened to a program on the radio about parents of aborted children and the impact the abortion has had on them. The lady interviewed had an abortion herself years ago and described how it affected her, and her family. She has a website where people discuss the impact abortion has had on them: http://www.abortionchangesyou.com/


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