Sunday, January 21, 2007

NYTimes Piece Profiles "Post-Abortion Syndrome" and its Adherents

The New York Times Sunday Magazine contains a lengthy piece on "post-abortion syndrome", a concept of emotional trauma caused to women by abortion that is largely unsupported by medical research, and the anti-abortion activists who use the concept as a weapon against women's reproductive options. The article delves into the medical research, the history of the notion of "post-abortion syndrome," and the activists who support and refute the concept. It covers a wide range of relevant issues, and you should really just read it for yourself.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that women who need psychological help after abortion (whether related directly to the abortion or otherwise) should be able to get it without shame, and women who do not feel traumatized after abortion should not be made to feel defective or manipulated into blaming abortion for other problems. Women should receive medically accurate information from anti- and pro- forces alike. Let each woman feel her choice in her own way, rather than using some women's emotions to deny options to all women.

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MeSH Tags: Abortion, Induced/Psychology


Blogger Hilary said...

I have seen much deeper emotional scars in women who have given up babies for adoption than women who have had abortions. Not that either is an easy choice, but I find those moms who give up their children are often ignored in this conversation. If the anti-choicers were so concerned about the emotional after effects of unplanned pregnancy, maybe they should support free birth control.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

That's an interesting point. I'm just rereading "The Girls Who Went Away," and the profound impact that giving up a baby for adoption had on those women is just astonishing. It's one of the most moving books I've ever read.

3:46 PM  
Blogger aus blog said...

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The essential feature of "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" is the development of characteristic symptoms following a psychologically distressing event that is outside the range of usual human experience.

Many things can cause PTSD. War can be a trigger, as can abortion, in fact any significant traumatic experience can do it.

In people who have experienced a traumatic event, about 8% of men and 20% of women develop PTSD after a trauma.

Symptoms of PTSD can include the following: nightmares, flashbacks, emotional detachment or numbing of feelings (emotional self-mortification or dissociation), insomnia, avoidance of reminders and extreme distress when exposed to the reminders ("triggers"), irritability, hypervigilance, memory loss, and excessive startle response, clinical depression and anxiety, loss of appetite, powerlessness, hopelessness and profound guilt, just to name a few.

Many of us may be susceptible given a harrowing enough experience.

8:38 PM  

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