Psychotherapist with 20 years experience describes post-abortion trauma

Mira Dana, a psychotherapist at the Women’s Therapy Centre in London, who has spent 20 years working with post-abortive women, says:

“There are three general reactions women display after an abortion and on coming home from the hospital.

(1) Euphoria…an expression of the feeling of relief and freedom at having solved a problem, having got rid of a burden, and having executed a decisive action. They will feel strong and powerful and in control of their lives. They will feel the need to laugh and have a good time… [and] keep excessively busy…

Feelings of loss, anger [and] guilt are of no relevance for them at this period… These emotions are bound to come later, sometimes even months or years later, sometimes in a disguised form, apparently with no connection to having had an abortion…

(2) Detachment – Some women will experience a sense of “shock”…numbness inside. They will go on doing ordinary activities they are used to doing, but with a sense of detachment, distance…unreality.

This detachment is an attempt to avoid experiencing the painful feelings connected to the termination… She may feel an inner emptiness…

(3) Depression – Some women get into a state of depression which could be described as a general sense of hopelessness and diffused (unfocused) feeling of blackness…feeling bad about yourself and your life and your environment, but without actually knowing what it is – a state of no specific emotion but this “darkness”… Feelings of worthlessness…and that nothing is of much importance…

Fear of Sexuality… Many women need time after an abortion before they feel relaxed and able to have sexual relationships again because they fear another abortion…

Ambivalence – not only about having a baby. There are many issues in a woman’s life about which she may be equally confused but which get “hooked” on the one issue of having a baby…

Envy – Often women feel envious of other women who have babies after the termination… Some women will refrain from visiting their friends who have newborn babies as they feel it is too painful to be with them.”

Miriam Claire The Abortion Dilemma: Personal Views on a Public Issue (Xlibris Corporation, 2013) 15 – 16

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Pro-Choice Author: Abortion carries “social shame” and “psychological burden”

From pro-choice author Melissa Harris-Perry:

“… Abortion still carries tremendous social shame in addition to its personal psychological burden.

Activists for reproductive rights have a hard time convincing women and families who have terminated to be part of a movement that protects the right to terminate. Many understandably prefer not to be publicly associated with the stigma and potential violence that comes with standing up for choice.”

Melissa Harris-Perry “Countering Antichoice Terrorism” The Nation June 2, 2009

I don’t think there are many pro-lifers who think being pro-choice brings with it a stigma.

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Social worker denied women’s grief after abortion was real

From an Australian social worker identified as Penny:

“I have seen women make this decision dozens of times. I had even seen some of them suffer afterwards, but I always firmly believed it was because of their religious conflict or some radical pro-life guilt trip.

I never in a million years believed that their grief or sorrow was real, or that their beliefs that they felt pressured were genuine.”

Dr. Debbie Garratt, PhD Alarmist Gatekeeping: Abortion (2021) v

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Politician describes letters from regretful post-abortive women

While arguing against unrestricted abortion, British pro-life politician John Corrie said in 1979:

“I have received many letters from unhappy women. Many of them bitterly regret having had their abortion and express in their letters the importance of counselling. If only they had known what it all entailed, they would not have gone through with the abortion.”

Fran Amery Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: The Changing Politics of Abortion in Britain (Bristol: Bristol University Press, 2020) 89

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Abortion clinic spokesperson denies post-abortion trauma, then admits it

Clare Murphy, a spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a chain of abortion clinics in England, says there is “not a jot of evidence” that women suffer post-abortion trauma.

But she says:

“There will of course be women who, even if they do not regret their decision, feel devastated that this was a decision they had to take in the first place.”

Radhika Sanghani “The harsh truth about how women feel after an abortion” The Telegraph 14 July 2015

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Head of Chain of Abortion Clinics: Some Women are “Devastated” by their Abortions

Clare Murphy, a spokesperson for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a chain of abortion clinics, says there is “not a jot of evidence” that women suffer post-abortion trauma.

But she says:

“There will of course be women who, even if they do not regret their decision, feel devastated that this was a decision they had to take in the first place.”

Radhika Sanghani “The harsh truth about how women feel after an abortionThe Telegraph 14 July 2015

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Interviewer couldn’t convince women to talk about their abortions

Byllye Avery, founder of the National Black Women’s Health Project, interviewed many women about their life experiences. She says:

“Women have been totally silent about all the issues. But the issue they were most silent about was abortion. I was amazed that women would talk about the worst kinds of psychological abuse. But they would not talk about their abortions.”

Quoted in Serena Garcia Collective Voices: Newsletter: Defending Abortion Rights as Black Women (Atlanta, Georgia: SisterSong, Summer 2011) 6

Is there something about abortion that is so traumatic that women can’t talk about it? Many women just want to forget their abortions and never tell anyone. If abortion was just the removal of cells, akin to getting a tooth pulled, why would women have such a hard time owning up to and discussing their abortions?

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Abortion worker complains more post-abortive women don’t support abortion

Abortion worker Steph Herold expresses her frustration over how few of the women she who came to her clinic are active in the pro-choice movement:

“We need our patients, who we do everything for, to stand up for us. We don’t need them to tell their abortion stories to everyone they know, although of course, that would be great. We need them to fight for abortion access in whatever way makes sense to them. If one in three US women has an abortion by age 45, where are these women? Why don’t they stand up for us?”

Sarah Erdreich Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013) 175

Could it be because women don’t find their abortions empowering and don’t want to advocate for abortion after they’ve been wounded by one?

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Abortion clinic owner can’t understand why former patients aren’t defending her clinic

Abortion facility owner Maggie Cage ran a full-page newspaper ad during Operation Rescue’s campaign. While pro-lifers staged sit-ins in front of the facility door, Cage called for her former patients to come and “defend” the facility. She couldn’t understand why they weren’t coming back to support the clinic:

“Where are you? Where are all the people we’ve helped over the years? We need you now. When you needed us, we were there. We held your hand and supported you. We see you in restaurants and at the grocery store, at PTA meetings and softball games. You are the businesspeople, the school officials, the politicians, the voters. We kept you safe. We held your secrets. But now we need help. Where are you?”

Quoted in Susan Wicklund This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor (New York: Public Affairs Perseus Books Group, 2007) 160

Could it be because these women didn’t feel so “helped” by their abortions?

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Abortionist describes women throwing up after their abortions from “emotional feeling”

Abortionist William J. Sweeney III writes:

“Consider five patients going up to the operating room for a dilation and curettage [for a non-abortion reason]: we put them to sleep and do the procedure: then they go to the recovery room and everything’s fine. But if we take five women upstairs to have abortions by suction curette, at least four of them will vomit as they’re waking up in the recovery room. Now although an abortion is a more delicate procedure technically, it’s practically the same operation as a D&C when you assess what has been done to the patient: same anesthesia, same operating room, same nurses, same doctors. Yet only an occasional D&C patient is nauseated whereas the vast majority of abortion patients will vomit. I think they throw up because of an underlying emotional feeling. Maybe they’re trying to get rid of the baby or their guilt. Or maybe they’re punishing themselves… Legal or not, an abortion is still a traumatic experience for most women.”

William J. Sweeney III, MD, Barbara Lang Stern Woman’s Doctor: A Year in the Life of an Obstetrician-Gynecologist (New York: Morrow & Company, 1973) 209

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