New study reveals terrible suffering but also hope for women who have abortions
LifeSite News 8 January 2018
Family First Comment: The untold stories…
A study published in December in the peer-reviewed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons reveals that women suffer from a wide variety of severely traumatic psychological effects from abortion, effects that often last for many years and have life-changing consequences.
The study also interestingly found that women who have endured such abortion-related emotional trauma often believe that their suffering has ultimately benefited them, providing a stimulus for them to help other women in crisis pregnancies.
“Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences,” reviews data generated from 987 women with a history of abortion who were invited to participate in an online survey.
When asked what negative effects, if any, they attribute to their abortions, 23.7% recognized that they had taken a life. Many mentioned that they suffered from depression (14.4%), guilt or remorse (14%), self-hatred or other negative feelings towards themselves (12.4%), shame (10.9%), and regret (9.3%).
“My child is dead and by my own choice,” one participant is quoted as saying. “I spent years of anger, shame, and grief. It damaged my relationship with my husband, my children, and my God. For 30 years I did not speak of it to anyone but my husband. My grief overwhelmed him and left him powerless and ashamed.”
“My life was interrupted in a way that after 30 years, since my last abortion, I am still hurting, emotionally and mentally as a result of my choices. I will have to live with them for the rest of my life on earth” another participant stated.
Many also mentioned self-destructive behavior as a negative consequence, including substance addiction or abuse (9%), promiscuity, self-punishment, and poor choices (7.7%), and impulses or even attempts at suicide (6.2%).
When asked to name positive effects, if any, had come from their abortions, a little less than one third (31.6%) of participants said that there were none. Those who listed “positive” effects tended to indicate that their suffering had stimulated changes in their lives that inclined them to pro-life and crisis pregnancy activism.
Such positive changes included a “deepened spiritual life (finding forgiveness, peace, inner healing” (17.5%), commitment to crisis pregnancy work (13.3%) or pro-life work in general (6.4%), speaking or writing about their abortion experiences (8.9%), helping women to recover from abortion-related trauma by communicating the love and forgiveness of God (8.2%), and conversion to Christianity (7.5%).
“As a CPC [crisis pregnancy center] volunteer, I have been able to persuade most of my abortion minded clients to at least wait until they could see an ultrasound before they made their decisions,” said one woman. “All that have done that have chosen life for their children. I would probably not have become a volunteer had it not been for the abortion I had.”
“The one positive is that it has brought me to my end and brought me to my knees before God,” wrote another participant. “He has drawn me to him through His endless forgiveness, mercy, and grace. I think He could have shown me those same things had I chosen another path, but this is how I came to Him, not as a Christian, because I already was one, but as one who really knows Him now.”
A little over 20% of participants did not respond to either question about the effects of abortion.
The study’s primary author is Dr. Priscilla K. Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University.
The study’s results and content differ dramatically from many other studies on abortion-related trauma undertaken in the English-speaking world, which often seek to confirm that women do not suffer any increased risk of trauma in aborting their child instead of giving birth. One such well-publicized study published in 2016 was blasted for serious methodological flaws that could have biased the results, as was a 2010 Guttmacher Institute study with similar conclusions.