“More pain was reported with medical abortion both during the abortion and during the follow up period. (Jensen found 77.1% of medical abortion patients reported pain vs. 10.5% of surgical abortion patients.)”
Winikoff B, Sivin I, Coyaji KJ, et al. Safety, efficacy, and acceptability of medical abortion in China, Cuba, and India: a comparative trial of mifepristone and misoprostol versus surgical abortion. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1997;176:431-7.
Cabezas E. Medical versus surgical abortion. Internat J Gynaecol & Obstet. 1998;63 Supp. 1, S141-6.
Elul B, Ellertson C, Winikoff B, Coyaji K. Side effects of mifepristone-misoprostol abortion versus surgical abortion. Data from a trial in China, Cuba, and India. Contraception 1999;59(2):107-14.
The FDA and RU-486: lowering the standard for women’s health. Staff report prepared for the Hon. Mark Souder, Chariman, Subcommitte on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resouces, October 2006.
“Medical Officer’s Review of Amendments 024 and 033“, Final Reports for the U.S. Clinical Trials Inducing Abortion up to 63 Days Gestational Age and Complete Responses Regarding Distribution System and Phase 4 Commitments, Finalized November 22, 1999
This woman seems to have gone through a second trimester abortion, which takes two visits to commit. At the first visit, laminaria are inserted to dilate the cervix, at the second, the baby is dismembered with forceps and removed piece by piece.
“I didn’t expect the dialation to hurt much. As soon as I got into the operating room I started crying. My nurse was pretty cold and she told me to stop crying and that it would only make things worse. I pleaded for them to stop and told them I didn’t want to do it anymore but since I had signed the consent form they proceeded. I started freaking out when they told me they would put a needle into my cervix but I wasn’t looking and when they did it I just felt a little pain. I must have sworn because the nurse got a little miffed. What hurt the most was being open by some metal thing. I was hyper ventilating and all the nurse said was, “You got yourself into this” and “stop making this harder for yourself”.
As soon as they let me leave I hugged my boyfriend and cried. I cried on the way home because of the pain I just felt. I was angry at the nurse and dreaded the next day when the actualy surgery would begin. In a few minutes I cramped up terrible and took my tylenol 3. The medication did not make me feel much better and I cried and cried at the motel until I fell asleep.
Those cramps were nothing compared to the ones I had the next morning when I took the cyotec medicine at 6:30 a.m. I cried and rolled around. I was screaming and moaning for nearly an hour. Finaly, I called 911 and had the paramedics come. A woman explained to me I was in premature labour. All I could do was cry and moan, “It’s hurting me, It hurts”. It was definately the worst pain I have EVER felt in my life. The paramedics called a taxi and he drove my boyfriend and I to the clinic.
I got to the clinic and waited in that damn room for nearly twenty minutes. I was moaning, clutching onto the chair with my head tilted back and breathing heavily. The other girls who were probably no more than a month pregnant pretended not to notice. They called me in and gave me some ativan. In no time I was relaxed and when they inserted the IV in I didn’t have a care in the world. The nurse who I had been so angry at the day before now seemed nicer than ever. I didn’t feel much pain. it felt like they were reaching all the way inside me to my neck and I just said something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh” a few times. Even though I felt pain I was so relaxed it didn’t both me.
I felt a wet thing down my leg and we were finished. I went to recovery and tripped out. It felt like 10 minutes but it must have been two hours. i felt fine the rest of the day and still do. Happy I did this. No regrets. Pain was nearly unbearable but worth it.”
“I had to wait for the abortion because they said that I was only two weeks past my period and that I had to wait two weeks before I could get scheduled. Before leaving, I asked two questions: Will it hurt? and Was it a baby?
Her reply to my first question was that I would feel pressure and then something that felt like menstrual cramps. Then, she drew a picture of a uterus and placed a circle inside and said it was no bigger than a quarter. *It was like a tumor* – easy enough to be removed with a little discomfort.
While in the hands of the abortionist, I received no medication for pain, no medication for anxiety, nor was I anesthetized. I did not have enough money for these “extras.” Some girls were given low doses of Valium for their nerves. That cost money too, more than what I had. I paid for the operation right up front – CASH ONLY, please.
The pain I felt during the abortion was *the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced in my life.* I could feel the baby being ripped from my womb. I yelled in pain and the nurse told me to relax – that I was tightening up – and to stay quiet. What empathy they feel for you before they take your money.
Everyone was so pleasant in the beginning. But, once the sale is closed, money in hand, *you’re just another person lying on the assembly line waiting to have their product of conception slaughtered.*
When the abortion was over, I felt humiliated, embarrassed, guilty, ashamed and violated all at the same time. I quickly justified my actions and my feelings. I suppressed those feelings, deep down, for ten years.
Three days after the abortion, I awoke in a pool of blood. I had a temperature of 103, abdominal pain, nausea and a migraine. I was rushed to the hospital where I received an emergency D&C. The doctor said I had blood clots. I was sent home with antibiotics.
Shortly after this horrifying experience, I started to experiment with drugs. Soon, I was doing them on a regular basis. I would fall into deep depressions. I lost job after job. There were times when
I would not get out of bed for weeks at a tine. I did not eat. *I went from 108 to 89 pounds. I could not sleep and, when I would finally fall asleep, I would suffer from nightmares. Drugs were the only release and escape from the feelings I could not deal with.”
National Stopp News, February 1992, p. 5. Found here.
“28-year-old “Linda” was hospitalized after Dr. X performed a second trimester abortion on her in June 1973. Dr. X had left a fetus of nearly 5 months gestation, missing a leg, an arm, part of the skull, and part of the torso, in Linda’s uterus. Linda died from a massive infection created by the retained fetal parts. Dr. X was put on trial for manslaughter in the case, during which the South Dakota Attorney General is quoted as saying, “You take a three inch leg off something, you have to know that there’s more in there than just the leg.” The defense argued that the state could not prove that Dr. X intended to harm Linda by leaving so much of the fetus inside her. The expert witness for the prosecution said that infection would result in every case where so much tissue was left behind, and the defense argued that infection is an accepted risk. Dr. X was acquitted. He was tried for another manslaughter following the 1985 abortion death of 18-year-old “Yvonne” and was again acquitted.”
Sources: American Medical News 8/29/77; Minneapolis Tribune 10/21/77; American Medical Association News 12/12/77, 1/23/78; South Dakota Death Certificate no. 140 85–2003853; Personal communication between Life Dynamics and South Dakota Deputy Attorney General
Mark Crutcher Lime 5: Exploited by Choice (Denton, Texas: Life Dynamics, Inc., 1996) 37
“I was supposed to go back for a checkup in two weeks to ensure all the tissue had been passed, but because the clinic was understaffed, they had to schedule my follow-up appointment for three weeks later. Two weeks to the day after I had the abortion, I hemorrhaged. I went to the ER where I had to be given a blood transfusion. They called in a team and I had an emergency D&C at about 4 a.m. and woke up in the ICU just before 7 a.m.
I would have died if I hadn’t received such quick care, and I’m extremely grateful to the OB-GYN and the team of nurses. Despite the complications, I have never regretted terminating that pregnancy.”
“When I met my doctor, she did her best to put me at ease. Dr. Woods was happy to talk about how the ‘war on women’ was affecting her practice. By the time she put me in stirrups, I felt righteously indignant. That feeling disappeared pretty fast, right around the time of the transvaginal ultrasound. I didn’t enjoy being probed with a giant wand, or hearing the 9-week-old fetus’ heartbeat. I had already gone through plenty of soul-searching, and this wasn’t going to change my mind.
I expected to be sedated for the actual abortion, but Dr. Woods only used local anesthesia. While the whole procedure took about 15 minutes, the pain left me blanched and hyperventilating. When it was done, she gave me a copy of the ultrasound photo: a little curlicue blob against black. She wasn’t required to do this. I didn’t know what to make of it….
Sweat-drenched, I sipped apple juice and lay in the exam room for a bit—but not for too long. Another patient who had traveled miles and miles to be here was waiting for her turn.”
This quote originally appeared in the article “The Waiting is the Hardest Part: A red-state transplant gets a glimpse of the dystopian future of abortion rights” in Tomorrow magazine.
A textbook intended to train abortion workers how to counsel patients says:
“The opposing argument originally put forward by feminists tried to minimize the emotional effect of termination on women. This appeared vital during the struggle for abortion as any discussion of ambivalent feelings or possible harmful effects could, they thought, have weakened their cause. Now that the law is in place and safer from attack, pro-choice supporters can afford to look at some of the emotional costs to women themselves.”
For example, they say:
“… Most studies identify a variably sized group of women who do seem to experience significant psychological sequelae which are not always short-lived.”
Joanna Brien, Ida Fairbairn Pregnancy and Abortion Counseling (London: Routledge, 1996) 141, 142
From a 2004 study that did a group interview with post-abortive adolescents:
“The loss of a potential child by abortion gives rise to the universal experience of mourning, in which adolescents are developmentally more vulnerable…. Because strong cultural and religious taboos exist, aspects of traumatic grief are sometimes ignored….
The adolescents described feelings of guilt, shame, secrecy, or confusion that clarified how the social stigma of abortion was reinforced in the high school setting. American adolescents are more likely to disapprove of abortion because they tend to respond in absolute terms to moral issues. Stone and Waszak’s study (Stone, R., & Waszak, C. (1992). Adolescent knowledge and attitudes about abortion. Family Planning Perspectives, 24, 52-57) demonstrated that adolescents’ first association to abortion was “killing the baby” ….
The group members in our study indicated they felt guilty when they were seen entering the abortion clinic, a feeling exacerbated by protesters who were sometimes encountered outside the clinic. Classroom discussions that condemned abortion also made the adolescents feel uncomfortable and guilty….
The socially based negative emotions of guilt, shame, and fear of disapproval were still noted in these group participants, even 40 years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed women’s right to choose, offering some societal acceptance of this choice. These feelings of guilt and shame, along with the shock and trauma of the pregnancy, can prevent adolescents from incorporating the experience of abortion into a learning experience because the defense of denial is used. This denial may cause a repetition of the shameful experience….
Some group members shared that they talked to the fetus and said, “I’m sorry,” to the fetus.”
Daly, Joan Ziegler, ACSW; Ziegler, Robert, MD; Goldstein, Donna J, RN, CPNP “Adolescent Postabortion Groups” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services; Thorofare Vol. 42, Iss. 10, (Oct 2004): 48-54.
“I just got a surgical abortion yesterday at 10 weeks 3 days. I didn’t have a driver so I couldn’t be sedated. The doc did give me some kind of numbing shot in my cervix but I’m not sure it did anything for me.
From the start, inserting the speculum, the shot, and the procedure itself was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had. The doc had to continually tell me to stop clenching my butt and to keep my legs wide (I did not know I was doing those things until he would tell me I was). I can’t describe the pain, the nurse/assistant was holding my hands and reminding me to breathe. I’m almost in tears thinking of what I went through. Near the end I broke down crying. I had to choke down tears walking into the room with the other ladies who have not gone yet (I was first). I felt so bad that a younger girl saw me and started crying herself. They wouldn’t even give me a Tylenol when I asked.”
“Occasionally, a woman will say that she wants an RU-486 abortion to punish herself for having become pregnant, even if it was a failure of contraception. She feels guilty and wants to punish herself with what she believes will be hours of strong period pains and consciousness of the procedure. She believes that she will be aware of the miscarriage and body changes and that remembering the procedure will force her not to let it happen again. That is not a good reason for having an RU-486 abortion. I have also heard women say that they want to have a local anesthetic prior to a surgical abortion for the same reason – to remain conscious through the procedure so that it won’t happen again. Consciousness is seen as a form of punishment.”
Miriam Claire The Abortion Dilemma: Personal Views on a Public Issue (New York: Insight Books, 1995) 154