Abortion advocates have been on a crusade lately to make abortion appear to be a routine medical procedure with no ill effects. They blame any negative feelings about abortion on social stigma and judgement.
But “A.A.”, a 59-year-old post-abortive woman, says that is simply not true.
A.A. told the Catholic News Agency that she spent the days after her abortion not wanting to leave her bed and the nights in tears. She said it wasn’t social stigma or judgement that caused pain after her abortion — her suffering was based on her own actions.
“I suffered from the need to see and caress my child. No one ever judged me. I’m the one who judged myself, feeling I was the worst of mothers,” she said.
A.A. said the root of her suffering was because she knew “I had been capable of killing my child who couldn’t even defend himself. My other children were able to play, cry and laugh, but their brother could not. That was the source of my pain.”
Peruvian psychologist Luz Marina Araoz Chavez works with post-abortive women through the program Project Hope. The psychologist is fighting a recent statement by the Chilean Psychological Association claiming that post-abortion syndrome does not exist, according to the report. The group’s committee on gender and sexual diversity claimed that “criminalization” of abortion is what causes women to suffer.
Chavez responded that the suffering many post-abortive women experience is evidence of post-abortion syndrome. Women endure “difficulty in healing the wound caused by the loss of the baby.” These women also struggle to be “at peace with God, oneself or others that were involved in her decision to abort,” she said.
Karen Cross is another woman who openly shares how her abortion ended her unborn baby’s life and then nearly destroyed hers, too.
Nine years after my first abortion, just three years after the second, I began to have nightmares. I realized my abortions had nearly destroyed my life. I learned that my problems with guilt, low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, nightmares, and alcohol are actually not uncommon with women who have had abortions.
Initially I was bitter toward my mother who took me to the first abortion. I wanted–or should I say needed–to blame her. For years I didn’t realize her pain. Sometimes she cried for me and the pain I endured, and sometimes for the grandchildren she’ll never hold.
Later I accepted responsibility for what happened and we forgave each other.
Even after all these years, it’s still not over. As I held my new grandson, I realized I didn’t abort two children, I aborted generations of children.
I share the stories of my mother and my children to help you understand that once I had the abortions, they became a permanent part of my life, my history.
Cross said her abortion experiences prompted her to become pro-life and to reach out to women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies. Today, she helps women and babies all across the U.S. through her role as the political director for the National Right to Life Committee.
Numerous studies also confirm that women often suffer from depression and other mental health issues after an abortion.
A 2008 study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found induced abortions result in increased risks for myriad mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.
The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who didn’t have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women.
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found a similar link between abortion and mental health problems. The study found that women who had abortions had rates of mental health problems about 30% higher than other women. The conditions most associated with abortion included anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders.
Because of Chavez and programs like Project Hope and Rachel’s Vineyard, post-abortive women like A.A. and Cross have found healing after their abortions.
A.A. told the news agency: “I spoke with a priest when I hit rock bottom because of the pain and regret. He counseled me to make reparation and said that the death of my child had a meaning for the other children in danger of being aborted.”