POST ABORTION STRESS SYNDROME
...it is undeniable that a significant number of women experience emotional problems after an abortion...
Post Abortion Syndrome (or PAS) is the collective name given to a group of emotional and mental problems which a woman can experience after an abortion.
Fierce disagreement has arisen over the term - pro-abortion groups may deny it exists or try to play it down, while pro-life groups point to the growing body of stories from women around the world who have experienced its symptoms and link it to their abortion.
As this website is dedicated to providing the full picture of what an abortion can involve, we have listed the commonly described symptoms of PAS below, so that you are aware of the potential risks. You should consider them very carefully, as well as other information on this website, before you make a decision on abortion - better a short period of inconvenience than a lifetime of pain and regret.
Does it exist?
Whether you believe in a specific "syndrome" or not, it is undeniable that a significant number of women experience emotional problems after an abortion, and many of them deeply regret having an abortion as a result.
You only need to look at the stories that have been collected - stories which other women often don't get to hear - to realise that, while some women are unaffected by the emotional consequences of an abortion, many others are deeply traumatised by them.
If you are sceptical about these claims, please take a look at some of the stories we have collected, either by clicking some of the links on the left or by visiting our dedicated stories page for further examples. You can also find further reading on the syndrome at the bottom of the page.
A discussion of scientific study on Post Abortion Syndrome is available at www.abort73.com/abortion/post_abortion_syndrome.
Common symptoms of POST ABORTION SYNDROME
Many women feel guilt for their actions even before they carry out the abortion. Others feel their actions are right beforehand, but are then struck by guilt in the clinic and change their minds - sadly, there are stories of women changing their minds in the clinic and being pressured or encouraged to continue by staff who didn't listen to them (see here for an example). Some feel fine at the time, but then experience intense guilt in later life when they have children and realise what they threw away.
The maternal instinct to nurture and protect children is well known and well documented. This instinct has to be put aside to abort a baby, an action which often leads to deep regret.
LOW SELF-ESTEEM / SELF-LOATHING
If a woman feels intense guilt over her act of abortion, she may hate herself for her decision and think that she deserves bad things to happen to her. This can lead her to make bad decisions in the future as she may think she doesn't deserve better.
DEPRESSION / SUICIDE
Guilt and and self-hatred can all too easily lead to depression (feeling constantly unhappy, despairing and hating life), which can itself lead to suicide. While this may sound far-fetched, suicides can often be linked to abortions, and some studies have suggested that women who have an abortion are much more likely to commit suicide than those who don't (in contrast, having children can prevent a woman from committing suicide over other matters, because she has others to live for).
The risk of suicide can be higher on the anniversary of the abortion, as a woman thinks of how old her child would be now if she hadn't aborted.
More information on the links between abortion and suicide is available here:
FEELING NUMB / RESORTING TO DRINK AND DRUGS
To avoid feelings of guilt, self-hatred and depression, some women try to ignore their emotions completely, and isolate themselves from anyone or anything which could trigger thoughts about the abortion. Many of these will take this a step further and use alcohol or drugs to run away from their life and emotions.
Some women report that they have recurring flashbacks or nightmares over their abortion, in which they can vividly remember its details. These memories can reinforce and increase other problems in this list, as they can't move on from their experience.
Such flashbacks can be triggered by everyday sights or sounds which remind them of their abortion experience.
AVOIDING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN
Since seeing children can set off emotions and memories within a woman who has had an abortion, she may avoid any possible contact with them - in public, with friends or even within the family. She may also try to avoid any contact with mothers or those who are pregnant. If she goes on to have children in the future, she may struggle to bond with them for the same reason.
Other symptoms reported include:
- Relationship problems / loss of intimacy with one's partner
- A strong desire to get pregnant again to replace the lost baby
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Eating disorders
- Fears of infertility
- Over-protection of future children
- Break-down of family relations
For more information on PAS, please see the following links:
http://hopeafterabortion.com/?p=106 (Portraits of grief)
http://hopeafterabortion.com/?page_id=213 (Fact sheet on psychological reactions)