Trauma Symptoms After Abortion Common – Women Attribute Substance Abuse, Sexual Disorders, and Suicidal Thoughts to Abortion
Abortion Linked to Later Anxiety Problems – Women Who Give Birth after “Unintended Pregnancies” Do Better
Abortion Advocates Trivialize Emotional Problems After Abortion
Pro-Life Right of Conscience Legislation Victory, Plus More
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TRAUMA SYMPTOMS AFTER ABORTION COMMON, Women Attribute Substance Abuse, Sexual Disorders, and Suicidal Thoughts to Abortion — Post-traumatic reactions to induced abortion may be far more common than previously thought, according to a new study published in the Medical Science Monitor.
Sixty-five percent of American women studied experienced multiple symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which they attributed to their abortions. Slightly over 14 percent reported all the symptoms necessary for a clinical diagnosis of abortion induced PTSD.
Researchers gathered data from women seeking general health care treatment at clinics and hospitals in both the USA and Russia. Women with a history of pregnancy loss, including miscarriage or abortion, were asked to complete an extensive questionnaire about their experiences. The subsample used in this study included 331 Russian women and 217 American women.
American women were significantly more likely to report traumatic reactions they attributed to their abortions, while Russian women were more likely to report disruption of cognitive schema, which is described as the equivalent of one’s “psychological road map” for understanding the world and one’s place in it.
Both Russian and American women were more likely to experience negative reactions to abortion if they had prior negative opinions of abortion, felt pressured into unwanted abortions, were more religious, or received little or no counseling prior to the abortion. American women were more likely to report being exposed to one or more of these risk factors. For example, 64 % of American women felt pressured by others to choose abortion compared to 37 % of Russian women. In addition, only 25 % of American women reported receiving adequate counseling prior to their abortions compared to 64 % of the Russian women.
American and Russian women reported fewer postive reactions to abortion than negative ones. The most commonly reported positive reaction was relief, but only 7 percent of Russian women and 14 percent of American women attributed this feeling to their abortions.
American women were more likely to attribute to their abortion subsequent thoughts of suicide (36 %), increased use of drugs or alcohol (27 %), sexual problems (24 %), relationship problems (27 %), guilt (78 percent), & an inability to forgive themselves (62 %). Approximately 2 % of the American women studied attributed a subsequent psychiatric hospitalization to their abortion.
“This is the first published study to compare reactions to abortion among women in two different countries,” said Dr. Vincent Rue, the lead author of the study and a traumatologist who heads the Institute for Pregnancy Loss. “It is also the first to provide a detailed breakdown of traumatic symptoms which the subjects themselves attribute to their abortions. These results will help mental health workers to be better prepared to recognize and treat the psychological complications of abortion.”
While this new study focuses on traumatic reactions to abortion, it follows on the heals of nearly a dozen other peer-reviewed studies published in the last three years linking abortion to increased risk of depression (www.afterabortion.info/news/depressionbmj.html), anxiety (www.afterabortion.info/news/anxiety1.htm), substance abuse (www.afterabortion.info/news/subabuse2.htm), suicidal behavior (www.afterabortion.info/news/deathssmj.html). Recent studies have also linked abortion to higher rates of death from heart disease (www.afterabortion.info/news/GisslerAJOG.htm), which may be a long term effect of elevated rates of anxiety/depression.
Because of the increasing concern about the mental health effects of abortion on women, legislation has been introduced in Congress to expand funding for treatment programs and research in this area. [Citing: Rue VM, Coleman PK, Rue JJ, Reardon DC. Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women. Med Sci Monit, 2004 10(10): SR5-16. The article: http://www.medscimonit.com/medscimonit/modules.php?name=GetPDF&pg=2&idm=4923 Media interviews: Amy Sobie (217)525-8202 www.afterabortion.info/news , 16Nov04]
ABORTION LINKED TO LATER ANXIETY PROBLEMS – Women Giving Birth to Unintended Pregnancies Do Better. Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), researchers examined a nationally representative sample of 10,847 women aged 15-34 who had experienced an unintended first pregnancy and had no prior history of anxiety.
After controlling for race and age at the time of the survey, researchers found that compared to women who carried the unintended pregnancy to term, women who aborted were 30 percent more likely to subsequently report all the symptoms associated with a diagnosis for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
If the excess cases found in the study are projected onto the entire population of women having abortions, there may be as many as 40,000 or more GAD cases per year attributable to abortion. Since many women participating in the NSFG do not report their past abortions, the results may underestimate the full impact of abortion reactions.
“Our study suggests that clinicians treating women with anxiety problems may find it useful to inquire about their clients’ reproductive histories,” said Jesse Cougle [M.Sc., lead author]. “Women struggling with unresolved issues related to a past abortion may benefit significantly from counseling that addresses this problem.”
Abortion advocates have frequently asserted that carrying an unintended pregnancy to term is more emotionally harmful to women than abortion.
But this new study linking abortion to general anxiety disorder comes on the heels of nearly a dozen other studies published in the last three years linking abortion to increased risk of depression, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and death from heart disease. Because of the increasing concern about the mental health effects of abortion on women, legislation has been introduced in Congress to expand funding for treatment programs and research in this area.
In their examination of data, Cougle and his colleagues considered women as being at risk for GAD if they reported feeling worried and anxious for a period of at least six months about things that were not serious or were unlikely to happen. They also had to experience other symptoms required for a diagnosis of GAD, such as irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, a pounding or racing heart, or feelings of unreality.
Researchers excluded women who reported having experienced a period of prolonged anxiety prior to or at the same time as their first pregnancy. Women who aborted a pregnancy after delivering the
first pregnancy were also excluded from the study.
There were also greater differences in rates of generalized anxiety between aborting and delivering women who were under the age of 20 than there were for women who were older at the time of the pregnancy. This may be explained, researchers said, by other studies that show that older women are more likely to conceal past abortions in surveys and that abortion is a more stressful experience for younger women.
“Some studies have found that younger women are more likely to experience emotional distress following abortion than older women,” Cougle said. “Younger women may feel less control over their decision and may abort under pressure from their parents and partner.”
[Jesse R. Cougle, David C. Reardon, Priscilla K. Coleman. “Generalized Anxiety Following Unintended Pregnancies Resolved Through Childbirth and Abortion: A Cohort Study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth,” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 2005, 19:137-142] [4Nov04, www.afterabortion.info/news]
ABORTION ADVOCATES DISCOUNT EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS AFTER ABORTION— The pro-abortion lobby continues to discount scientific evidence showing a link between abortion and psychological problems. One of the nation’s leading pro-abortion researchers, Nancy Russo of Arizona State Univ, recently told Toledo Blade newspaper, “As far as I’m concerned, whether or not an abortion creates psychological difficulties is not relevant it means you give proper informed consent and you deal with it.”
The Elliot Institute, which studies the after-effects of abortion, responded, “Maybe Russo wasn’t quoted exactly right. But it sure sounds harsh to say that the emotional pain millions of women experience after abortion is not relevant and they should just deal with it.”
A researcher at Bowling Green State Univ, Priscilla Coleman, says approximately 10% of women who undergo abortions experience psychological problems as a result. “It’s that 10 percent with a common procedure that just keeps nudging at me. I think that’s a group we really need to look at more closely. Ten percent of 1.3 million women. How could we ignore that? If it was any other medical procedure it would get more attention,” Coleman said. [emphasis added]
[D.C., http://www.lifenews.com/nat304.html, 28Jan04]
PRO-LIFE CONSCIENCE LEGISLATION VICTORIES after years of family groups’ hard work, Congress agreed to key pro-life legislation that protects private healthcare providers (incl. hospitals, doctors, clinics & insurers) from being forced to provide abortions or refer women to others for abortions. When formally approved it will bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers who refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals In the same bill,
Congress also banned the patenting of human life. This greatly limits the ability of biotech companies to kill/exploit human life for economic gain.
President Bush’s policy not to fund international organizations that support abortion was also upheld, and significant increases in funding for abstinence programs were secured. All in all, it was a good day for life. Cathy Ruse noted, “The opposition of abortion activists to this Amendment is telling . . . . Heres more evidence that ‘pro-choice really does mean ‘pro-abortion.”
[FRC, 22Nov04, http://www.frc.org/index.cfm?i=PG03G34&f=WU04K17&t=e; NCHLA, 24Nov04]