Three Post-Abortion Truths You May Not Know
When a woman chooses an abortion, she is not always given the full range of options, side-effects or post-abortive trauma that may arise from the procedure. Abortion is constantly presented as safe, common, and as simple as any regular gynecological procedure. This language used by abortion providers desensitize women to the reality of how abortion affects them mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Below are three issues that often arise after an abortion.
#1 Women May Experience Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder relating to a past abortion)
Many women experience post abortion stress syndrome (PASS) after an abortion. PASS is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that may present itself in many ways, but some of the most common include:
- Guilt: Guilt can arise for a woman when she realizes the gravity of her choice. She may feel as if she has violated her natural maternal instincts or “code.”
- Anxiety: Anxiety can present to a woman in physical form (racing heart, difficulty breathing, upset stomach), or in forms of tension, lack of sleep, difficulty sleeping, or irritability.
- Depression: Depression for women can feel like numbness, sad moods or quick fluctuations in moods, no motivation, or feeling like she is in a hole that she cannot escape.
- Suicidal thoughts: A study by the Elliot Institute found for many post abortive women, the rate of suicide was increased.
The list of mental stressors after an abortion (for some, even years after their abortion) is extensive. A post abortive woman may suffer from one or two of these symptoms, but many post abortive women may even experience all of them. For women who notice symptoms of PASS after an abortion, the need for help is great. These women may benefit from post abortive counseling, post abortive healing classes, connecting with counselors in the church, or grief counseling.
#2 Abortion Can Have Physical Side-Effects and Risks
*Please note: this section contains some graphic content that some may find difficult to read. We find that this information is important for people to be informed and fully educated.
The most common physical side-effects after an abortion are cramping and heavy bleeding. Advice and Aid Pregnancy Center notes that “uterine cramping is normal after any kind of abortion. The main way that the uterus controls bleeding is to contract, squeezing the blood vessels shut.” If the uterus cannot shut completely (due to pieces of the placenta or baby parts being left behind) then the uterus cannot cramp shut to close off the blood vessels. There are other reasons why heavy bleeding may occur after an abortion, specifically due to a torn cervix or a blood vessel that had been cut during the abortion.
A variety of other, very serious, physical side-effects can also occur after an abortion. These can range from damage to the cervix, scarring inside the uterus, future miscarriages, or ectopic pregnancy later.
Every woman has a right to know the physical problems that can arise after having an abortion. An abortion isn’t just as simple as a dental procedure- there are very real, negative physical consequences on a woman’s body, as well as the body of her unborn baby.
#3 Women Experience Emotional Distress and Trauma After an Abortion
Due to the extreme physical and mental toll an abortion has on a woman, they often experience emotional side-effects and trauma. Post-abortion trauma may not always arise immediately after an abortion. For some women, that trauma may not arise until years later.
Women who are not educated on their options or the true after-effects of abortion may later feel symptoms of shame, regret, sadness, and grief from the loss. They may also have difficulty bonding with future children or avoid having children altogether because it brings up the feelings of loss and heartbreak from her abortion.
It is important for post-abortive women to connect with local resources that can help them find healing. Whether it is a counselor or a local church with a grief counseling group, healing the body, emotions, and heart are the most important steps.
Save the Storks partners with over 60 pregnancy centers nationwide with nearly 60 mobile medical units operating around the country. In 2019, affiliate pregnancy centers reported over 2,100 positive pregnancy tests and over 1,800 choices for life aboard their mobile medical units.
To help find counseling resources near you, visit https://www.aacc.net/
To connect with a local pregnancy center to learn about all your options, or for pregnancy assistance, click here.
CareNet Pregnancy Resource Center Locator: https://www.care-net.org/find-a-pregnancy-center
Heartbeat International Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help: https://www.heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide-directory