Abortion has Stronger Emotional Impact on Women than Miscarriage (CMAJ,5/2003; BJOG; PM,5/04)

Researchers in Norway have found that abortion presents a more significant damaging emotional impact on women than miscarriage. The study found that women who had an abortion two years ago were more likely than women who had miscarriages to be suppressing thoughts and feelings about the death of the baby. Overall, the study revealed that approximately 17% of 80 post-abortive women surveyed score highly on a scale measuring "avoidance" symptoms [Reuters]. Such symptoms include avoidance of what happened or "intrusion," such as flashbacks or bad dreams. There were 120 women included in the Norwegian survey — 80 who had abortions prior to the 14th week of pregnancy and 40 who had miscarriages during the first or second trimester. The study found that 10 days after an abortion decision half of those who miscarried and nearly 30 percent of women who had abortions had negative feelings about the event. Women were asked to chart their feelings at 10 days, 6 months and two year time periods. Those more likely to experience guilt and shame early on from the abortion were more likely to have such feelings later on. Georgette Forney [abortion survivor, co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, that urges women who regret their abortions to speak out] was glad more research is being conducted into abortion's aftereffects. "Finally, someone is studying the pain women experience from pregnancy loss by abortion or miscarriage," Forney said.   "My experience is that women who miscarry are usually given a small window of sympathy, but women who have abortions often resort to using drugs and alcohol to cover up the pain because...