Abortion textbook urges pro-choicers to consider women’s sadness post-abortion

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

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Woman kills herself after abortion, never told there was no baby

A book on post-abortion women cited the following case from The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology:

“An 18-year-old female underwent suction curettage for a suspected pregnancy at 8 weeks duration. She committed suicide three days after the procedure, having expressed guilt about having killed her baby. There had been no pregnancy tissue in the suction specimen, but the patient was never told this.”

Paula Ervin Women Exploited: The Other Victims of Abortion (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor Inc., 1985) 68

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Counselor on the abortion experience

From one therapist:

“From my own experience as a counselor, I’m convinced that the experience of abortion rarely leaves a woman emotionally and psychologically whole.”

Dr. Ron Lee Davis

Dr. Ron Lee Davis, James D Denney A Time for Compassion: A Call to Cherish and Protect Life (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H Revell Company, 1986)

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Woman who worked at mental hospital says many patients had abortions

A woman named Kae who worked in a mental hospital says:

“During the years that I worked in a psych unit of the hospital, I encountered many depressed women who had abortions and kept their emotions about it buried. The emotional pain that is hidden so deeply will eventually resurface if left unresolved. Many of these women suffered from eating disorders. Most eating disorders manifest from the patient’s desire to gain control over certain issues in her life. Most young girls I saw who had been pushed into abortions by their parents or boyfriends would either overeat, not eat, or purge… Emotional pain surfaces. Psychiatric episodes are also very real to some of these women whose pain from abortion had been ignored and therefore untreated.”

Jennifer O’Neill Healing through God’s Grace after Abortion (Deerfield Beach, Florida: Faith Communications, 2005) 74 – 75

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Women used the word “baby” after their abortions

A pro-choice woman wrote the following after having an abortion:

“I’ll never forget being with three women, or six women actually. When three of them woke up, they had a general anesthesia, three of them said such things as, “Where’s my baby? Is my baby dead? Will I ever have any other babies?”… I don’t think we should minimize… [that] abortion does produce some concern on the part of women and we need to recognize it and say it “Yes, abortion kills a living human fetus.”… And I think you have to call it for what it is and there’s a sense of loss.”

Quoted by Kristin Luker, Interview 118, Archived at the Murray Research Center, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p 21

Eileen L McDonagh Breaking Abortion Deadlock: from Choice to Consent (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) 186

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Survey of Post-Abortion women reveals emotional turmoil

Lisa Arnold compiled the following statistics in 2002 and 2003 from over 200 postabortion women. She works in a crisis pregnancy center, and this is taken from the women who came to her who had past abortions.


My decision to abort had a great impact on my life

agree: 88%
disagree: 7%
not sure: 5%


my self-image has changed since my abortion

agree 78%
disagree 11%
not sure 11%

I cry over my abortion and aborted child (1 – 3 times per month)

agree: 44%
disagree: 39%
not sure: 17%

I feel disconnected and separated from others since my abortion.

Agree: 58%
disagree: 36%
not sure: 6%

I have trouble expressing my emotions.

Agree: 62%
disagree: 29%
not sure: 9%

I find myself being easily angered

agree: 72%
disagree: 21%
not sure: 7%

I struggle with depression.

Agree: 69%
disagree: 20%
not sure: 11%

I am startled when unexpectedly approached or hear a loud noise.

Agree: 57%
disagree: 20%
not sure: 11%

I often feel moody or irritable.

Agree: 80%
disagree: 11%
not sure: 9%

I have trouble sleeping.

Agree: 69%
disagree: 22%
not sure: 9%

I struggle with guilt and self-condemnation over my abortion.

Agree: 85%
disagree: 10%
not sure: 5%

I have kept my abortion a closely guarded secret.

Agree: 82%
disagree: 17%
not sure: 1%

I thought my life would stay the same or change for the better after my abortion.

Agree: 67%
disagree: 18%
not sure: 15%

I worry a lot about the future.

Agree: 78%
disagree: 14%
not sure: 8%

I feel separated from God because of what I have done.

Agree: 65%
disagree: 30%
not sure: 5%

I am afraid God will punish me for having my abortion.

Agree: 72%
disagree: 16%
not sure: 12%

It is difficult for me to make decisions and stick to them.

Agree: 56%
disagree: 2%
not sure: 42%

I thought the emotional pain I have felt over my abortion would lessen over the years but it has gotten stronger.


Agree: 78%

disagree: 19%
not sure: 3%

I think about how old my child would be now.

Agree: 86%
disagree: 12%
not sure: 2%

My abortion experience as a whole was the biggest mistake of my life.

Agree: 73%
disagree: 15%
not sure: 12%

My abortion experience was a relief and helped me to get on with my life.

Agree: 12%
disagree: 76%
not sure: 12%

I would never have another abortion.

Agree: 79%
disagree: 3%
not sure: 18%

I would have another abortion if I felt I had to.

Agree: 9%
disagree: 80%
not sure: 11%

I am interested in free postabortion counseling.

Agree: 75%
disagree: 11%
not sure: 14%
“The women surveyed are of ages ranging from 14 to 58 and come from widespread socioeconomic environments, are of various ethnic backgrounds and have diverse religious beliefs. The period of time from their abortion experience to complete the survey varied from one month to 37 years. The information was gathered in an effort to research the overall effect abortion has on a diverse number of women. It will be used to benefit those involved in counseling and recovery from postabortion stress.”

Jennifer O’Neill Healing through God’s Grace after Abortion (Deerfield Beach, Florida: Faith Communications, 2005) 63-65

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Pro-Life speaker comments on “aggressive” post-abortion women

A woman who speaks publicly about abortion’s painful aftereffects on women wrote:

“I learned to take the aggression of the pro-choice women until their pain comes through. During the talks I gave, it was the women who did the screaming who contacted me later, very quietly.”

Melanie Symonds, Phyllis Bowman And Still They Weep: Personal Stories of Abortion (The SPUC Educational Research Trust, 1996) 9

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Abortionist on women’s reactions after abortion

Julius Fogel, abortionist and psychiatrist:

“There is no question about the emotional grief and mourning following an abortion… Many come in [to the office, even years later] – some are just mute, some hostile. Some burst into crying… There is no question in my mind we are disturbing a life process.”

Interview with Coleman McCarthy “Does Abortion Harden Maternal Instinct?” National Catholic Reporter, February 24th, 1989, 20
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Counselors say women regret abortions many years later

Counselors Dennis and Matthew Linn, SJ and Sheila Fabricant M. Div write:

“Our experience in our healing prayer confirms that women who choose to abort a child grieve for their babies. We have often prayed with women who, many years after an abortion, still struggle with unresolved grief.”

Dennis and Matthew Linn, SJ and Sheila Fabricant, M. Div. “Healing Relationships with Miscarried, Aborted, and Stillborn Babies” Journal of Christian Healing (vol. 7, no. 2) 35

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British Victims of Abortion inundated with letters from postabortion women

Pro-life activists Melanie Symonds and Phyllis Bowman from British Victims of Abortions (BVA),  write:

“The plan has always been ultimately to provide a national telephone helpline along with one-to-one counseling with group backup. Another area which opened up was the opportunity to participate in media chat shows and contribute to magazine articles. Each time we had any coverage and described abortion damage, we were inundated with either telephone calls or letters requesting more information and help. This again reinforced our belief in the extent of damage women were suffering…

If the condition is not understood or even acknowledged, how on earth can the problem be addressed and women helped to come to terms with their loss and pain?”

Melanie Symonds, Phyllis Bowman And Still They Weep: Personal Stories of Abortion (The SPUC Educational Research Trust, 1996) xvi

if women weren’t sometimes traumatized by their abortions, there would be no need for groups like this.

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