Voices
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Hidden pain

Politics suppresses the problems of many post-abortive women

Issue: "Profiles in effective compassion," Sept. 26, 2009

Her tears spilled from her cheeks as she told me the story of her abortion, some 11 years earlier. "Last fall, my husband put his arms around me from the back and whispered in my ear, 'Our baby would have been 10 years old today,' and we both cried," she said as more tears came.

She was in for her first prenatal visit, excited about having her third child. As part of her obstetric history, I asked her about other pregnancies. She happily told of her two term pregnancies. But then I asked if she had experienced any miscarriages or abortions. I learned early in my career that woman generally don't mention abortions unless specifically asked. "Oh, yes, one abortion," she said. Then I asked an open-ended question, the question that generated all the tears, simply, "How do you feel about that?"

"Oh, terrible. It's the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life," she said. I've heard many other women use that exact phrase.

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"When did you know it was a mistake?" I asked.

"On the table," she said as tears welled up in her eyes. She related how she was in college and became pregnant. Convinced their parents would not understand, she and her boyfriend thought abortion to be the logical solution. "The abortion hurt so bad. I saw the canister with all the blood and I knew right then I had killed my baby," she said. She and her boyfriend later married, an unusual occurrence, as most boyfriends usually dump their no-longer-pregnant girlfriends like a hot rock. Two children came along later, then the event described above-tears and regret 11 years after the fact.

As women continue to be victimized by abortion, mainstream medicine ignores the long-term negative mental health risks it poses.

The American Psychological Association (APA) reiterated its contention that abortion causes no mental health problems for women in an August 2008 report. Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D., an associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and one of the leading researchers into the after-effects of abortion for women, especially related to potential mental health concerns, analyzed the data on which the APA based its conclusions and found the APA wanting.

As reported by Lifenews.com, she determined that the APA conclusions did not follow from their presented data, that abortion advocates dominated the review committee, that abortionists or those sympathetic to abortion did the studies reviewed, that the APA ignored studies that found negative effects of abortion, and that the committee used shifting standards of evaluation. She found other problems as well.

Published, peer-reviewed studies from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States show a link between abortion and alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety, among other less common negative effects.

Personally, I can attest to the despair, depression, what-ifs, and regrets women have after induced abortion. The example above is just one of many.

Since abortionists and pro-abortion researchers have access to abortion patients and therefore do most research on abortion complications, the results are predictable. My residency program in OB/GYN had a large abortion service. They would send out a questionnaire to women who underwent an abortion and the doctors doing their post-abortion visit, asking questions about complications. It came as no surprise to me that those wearing the "Keep Abortion Safe and Legal" buttons-the ones who collated the data-always found few complications.

When the fox guarding the hen house says all the hens are just fine, what do you think?

The politics of abortion advocacy has tainted medical research and medical researchers into claiming safety and no long-term adverse mental effects for a procedure that takes a pre-born human life. Excellent studies contradict their conclusions, conclusions that fundamentally lack the ring of truth. If you doubt that abortion causes long-term negative effects on women and think the APA is right, try asking a post-abortive woman, "How do you feel about your abortion?"
-Matt Anderson is a practicing OB/GYN in Minnesota and blogs regularly at mdviews.wordpress.com.

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