An anonymous guest writer shed light on the painful effects abortion can have on siblings of unborn children in a column for The Federalist this week.
The child of an abortion activist, the writer shared that she thought for many years that she was her mother’s special only child – a child who miraculously beat the odds of a life-threatening medical condition and survived.
The writer said her mother was diagnosed with a chronic illness as a teenager and advised against getting pregnant. Doctors said a pregnancy with her condition would be too dangerous for her life as well as her unborn child’s, according to the column. When the mother was 29, however, she had a period of remission; and her doctors suggested that if she wanted to have children, now was the time to try. She became pregnant about a month later, the writer said.
The writer continued:
The pregnancy was fraught: she was on bed rest for most of it, and a few months in, her obstetrician informed her that I would likely be born with a fatal birth defect. She was told to abort and ‘try again.’ But there was no time to ‘try again,’ so my mother sought a second opinion with a top rated high-risk obstetrician in New York City, who disagreed with the first doctor’s assessment. So she decided to continue the pregnancy.
Upon birth, my mother’s kidneys ceased functioning. Again, miraculously, they began working again on their own within a few days, and despite being born barely five pounds at 42-weeks gestation, we both made it out of the hospital in one piece. I was born sans defect.
Why did my mother risk her life to have me? Why did she ignore her first doctor’s advice and continue her pregnancy? She always told me it was because she knew how special I was, even when I was just the size of an apple. Is there anything more powerful than a mother’s love?
But slowly the writer began to discover some painful details about her mother’s past that contradicted such thoughts. The writer said her mother took her to pro-abortion protests at abortion clinics and taught her to say “My body, my choice” when she was still very young. As the years past, the writer began to notice more of the things that her mother and her abortion advocate friends talked about. One was her mother’s abortions. How many abortions her mother had, the writer did not know, but she learned that her mother was “ a bad combination of irresponsible, fertile and ill prepared for a new baby” when she was young.
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“Suddenly, I realized my mother carried me to term not because I was a mythical child loved from the outset, but because I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I wasn’t any more special than my siblings—just lucky enough to have been a planned and wanted pregnancy,” the writer said.
The writer said she felt angry and cheated when she realized that she was not an only child and later that her siblings were unique individuals with heartbeats and functioning organs.
“My entire life, I thought I was an only child because of my mother’s medical condition,” the writer explained. “Suddenly, I became aware I could have in fact had siblings, and I felt cheated.”
People tend to think that an abortion only affects the woman and her unborn child; but research has found that the death of an unborn child can cause suffering for every member of the family. The Federalist writer’s thoughts and emotions are not unique.
Child psychiatrist and psychologist Dr. Philip Ney has done extensive research on the effects of abortion on siblings. He found that many siblings of aborted children experience survivor’s guilt and struggle with their sense of self-worth. Siblings of abortion victims also can suffer from depression, anxiety, low self esteem, fear of the future and other psychological problems, according to Ney’s research.
“The most prominent symptom of PASS [post-abortion survivor syndrome] is existential guilt, ‘I feel I don’t deserve to be alive,’” Ney wrote in 2011.
The Federalist writer concluded by emphasizing what Ney and others have discovered – the abortion death of an unborn child has negative effects on born children, too.
She concluded, “It may be one thing to support the right to choose in theory, but when that abstract choice is actually your own brother or sister, and you were never part of making that choice, abortion can often be perverted from a right to be championed, to a destructive and tragic force in your own family.”