AAPLOG Statement: Sensitivity in Dealing with Post-Abortive Woman

A Simple Question: “Number of Pregnancies” by Sydna A. Masse One thing I never expected during my teenage pregnancy and subsequent abortion was how difficult it would be to be honest about this procedure on a routine doctor’s intake form. I felt deep fear each time I encountered one of the most difficult questions for a post-abortive woman: number of pregnancies. My abortion in 1981 was a closely held secret for many years. I was hesitant to share it with anyone, especially a physician. Fear of condemnation and my own shame never over-ruled my own conscience and I was normally truthful. As each new doctor reviewed my form, and sometimes clarified the fact that I had an abortion, my heart would break. Rarely did I allow my emotions to surface yet regardless of how the question was asked, I always felt the physician’s judgment. The Alan Guttmacher Institute of Reproductive Health, states that “At current rates, 43% of all women will experience abortion at least once by the time they are 45 years of age.” If abortion is such a common experience, why do you rarely hear women share about their own abortion experience? Most of us chose abortion to erase a mistake. Many felt it was our only choice. Like Feminist Frederica Matthews-Green once stated, “a woman doesn’t want an abortion like an ice-cream cone or a Porsche, but like an animal caught in a trap who gnaws off its own leg.” Years after an abortion many women come to regret this choice. In order to hide our pain and grief, we isolate this memory and five great...