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Does Abortion Have Severe Psychological Effects?

1489 words - 6 pages

Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by destruction of a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus before birth, prior to the time when the fetus attains viability, or capacity for life outside the uterus (Encyclopedia, 1995, p.43). Currently almost twenty-five percent of pregnancies in the United States are aborted. About one forth of people who abort are teenagers, fifty-seven percent are younger than 25, and almost eighty percent are unmarried. During the first trimester is when most of the abortions take place. Only about ten percent are performed later in the pregnancy (Slife, 1998, p.329). Abortions go back as far as Ancient Greece where it was used as a type of population control. Then in the Roman Times men had total control over the procedure. “Man could give law-enforced command that his wife have an abortion, or he could punish or divorce his wife for having one without his consent” (Encyclopedia, 1995, p.43).      
     Today many people ask the question, does abortion have severe psychological effects? People that are pro-life claim that most women who abort their unborn child suffer from many negative effects, such as guilty feelings, anxiety, depression, loss, anger and even suicide. In one case a woman had an abortion assuming that it would take away all of the stress of being pregnant and thinking about the consequences of having a child. Afterwards she said, “I was unprepared for the maze of emotions that hit me after I had the procedure. Instead of feeling relieved, I was awash in anxiety and confusion” (Lawlor, 2002, par.3). The disorder of having negative effects after an abortion is called Post Abortion Syndrome or PAS. In order to tell if a woman has PAS she has to be completely honest with herself and admit the feelings that she has. The symptoms that most women have are strong feelings of guilt and confusion. Some cases are much more extreme, for example, there was a seventeen year old who developed lethargy, malaise, and vomiting. Doctors where unable to reach a conclusion about her condition until the anniversary of her abortion when she experienced overt psychosis. Mental examinations also revealed signs of hallucinations, as well as psychotic thought processes. Research has shown that in most cases women will go on and say they are fine about the whole thing, and many years later be engulfed in feelings of guilt, confusion, and exploitation (Lawlor, 2002, par.4). I think that the reason for this is because at the time they did not need a child, or they didn’t feel like they could support it like they wanted to, then later on down the road when they start thinking about having children the thought that they killed one starts to effect them. The sad thing about it is that there is no real treatment or cure, although there are things that can help. One type of treatment that has proven to be helpful is post abortion counseling, or spiritual and psychological programs. An...

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