Abortion Has Stronger Emotional Impact on Women Than Miscarriage
by Steven Ertelt
May 5, 2004
Oslo, Norway (LifeNews.com) — Researchers in Norway have found that abortion has a more significant damaging emotional impact on women than miscarriage. The study found that women who had an abortion two years ago were more likely than women who had miscarriages to be suppressing thoughts and feelings about the death of the baby.
Overall, the study revealed that approximately 17 percent of 80 post-abortive women surveyed score highly on a scale measuring "avoidance" symptoms, according to a Reuters article Wednesday.
Such symptoms include avoidance of what happened or "intrusion," such as flashbacks or bad dreams.
Women who had induced abortions were more likely to experience regret and feelings of "guilt and shame," the study’s authors said.
Only three percent of women who suffered from miscarriages had such symptoms the research, published in the March/April 2004 edition of the medical journal Psychosomatic Medicine, showed.
Dr. Anne Nordal Broen, the leading researcher and a psychiatry specialist at the University of Oslo, told Reuters that the findings suggest women who have had abortions or miscarriages need to be able to talk through and work out their feelings.
"We know that suppression of thoughts and feelings connected to an event is not a healthy way to deal with difficult psychological responses," Broen said. "It is better to talk about what happened, let the natural feelings come out."
Post-abortion outreach programs, usually led by pro-life advocates, have long helped women recover from the emotional, psychological and spiritual complications of an abortion.
Georgette Forney, an abortion survivor who is the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a group that urges women who regret their abortions to speak out, was glad more research is being conducted into abortion’s aftereffects.
"Finally, someone is studying the pain women experience from pregnancy loss by abortion or miscarriage," Forney told LifeNews.com.
"My experience is that women who miscarry are usually given a small window of sympathy, but women who have abortions often resort to using drugs and alcohol to cover up the pain because the people who told us it was ok to abort our babies, don’t want to listen to our crying afterwards," Forney explained.
Previous studies have found higher rates of psychological complications resulting from abortion.
A study published in the May 2003 edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal reviewed the medical records of 56,741 California Medicaid patients. It revealed that women who had abortions were 2.6 times more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery.
Rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years, according to David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute.
"This study, based on objective medical records, validates the claims of tens of thousands of women in post-abortion recovery programs," Reardon explained.
Another prior study in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor.
Meanwhile, a five-year retroactive study in Canada, revealed that women in two Canadian provinces were more likely to seek psychological help (25%) compared with the general population (3%).
Some 120 women were included in the recent Norwegian survey — 80 who had abortions prior to the 14th week of pregnancy and 40 who had miscarriages during the first or second trimester.
The study found that 10 days after an abortion decision half of those who miscarried and nearly 30 percent of women who had abortions had negative feelings about the event.
Women were asked to chart their feelings at 10 day, 6 month and two year time periods. Those more likely to experience guilt and shame early on were more likely to have such feelings later on.
"I hope this study will encourage additional research into both the short-term and long-term affect of abortion on women’s emotional health," Forney concluded. "After 31 years of experimenting us — it’s about time."
Related web sites:
Broen’s study – https://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/content/full/66/2/265
Elliot Institute – https://www.afterabortion.org
CMAJ study – https://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/168/10/1253