Abortion Group Blog

Abortion Group's Blog is updated frequently with posts from staff and people willing to share their stories.
Get informed with honest and reliable information on pregnancy and abortion.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in post abortion
Posted by on in Abortion and Women's Health
Emotional Effects After Abortion

I feel concerned about women after abortion, particularly after hearing very emotional and negative experiences from women.   I looked at a review on mental health and abortion by the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.  Overall, their conclusions seem to reflect how women are usually coping and getting on with their lives.  But surprisingly, this important review failed to conclude on the risks of emotional effects after abortion and effects on the general mental health of women.

The 2008 American Psychological Association's - APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) reviewed 223 USA and International studies published in peer-reviewed journals from 1990-2007 and gave its findings in a 100 page report.1 Firstly, the TFMHA defines "mental health" using the World Health Organisation's (WHO) definition of mental health as: "a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community."  All the women I know appear to satisfy this definition of "mental health" after abortion.

Then the TFMHA explains that the question of whether abortion causes harm to women's health cannot be scientifically tested.  This would require randomised trials where pregnant women are assigned to an abortion verses delivery verses adoption group and this is obviously not desirable nor ethical.  So the (testable) questions addressed by the TFMHA were how prevalent are mental health problems among women in the U.S. who have had an abortion and what is the relative risk of mental health problems after abortion compared to alternatives (adoption or motherhood).

The TFMHA specifies mental health problems for an important reason - it emphasises that "mental health problems" are defined as "clinically significant disorders assessed with valid and reliable measure of physician diagnosis."  Examples include, major depression, anxiety disorders or postraumatic stress disorders.  Excluded from the definition of mental health problems are 'normal' negative emotions or feelings a woman might experience after an abortion and as the TFMHA states, these include regret, sadness or dysphoria.2  "Dysphoria" (psychiatry) means: a "state of unease or generalised dissatisfaction with life", or "an emotional state characterised by anxiety, depression or unease."3

So the TFMHA review on mental health and abortion was largely limited to drawing conclusions on mental health problems after abortion where mental health problems are clinically diagnosed mental disorders in women.  Although the TFMHA did review papers that analysed relative mental risks (i.e. including emotional effects) associated with abortion, it rejected all the studies as being unable to provide unequivocal evidence on these, due to "methodological flaws".

The conclusion of the TFMHA was, "the most methodologically sound research indicates that among women who have a single, legal, first-trimester abortion of an unplanned pregnancy for nontherapeutic reasons, the relative risks of mental health problems is no greater than the risks among women who deliver an unplanned pregnancy".

Not surprisingly, this conclusion seems to reflect the women after abortion I know - they had a single, legal, early abortion and seem to be doing fine as capable and successful women without any psychological disorders.  However these women have experienced a very deep and personal, ongoing sadness and regret after abortion.  These significant adverse effects on the psychological well-being of women after abortion were not well-addressed by the TFMHA because it would not use studies that included evidence on emotional effects to make a conclusion.

The TFMHA gave a conclusion of the relative risk of "mental health problems", i.e. mental health disorders only: their conclusion does not address concerns about the relative risk of abortion on the general mental health of women, including adverse emotional effects.  As I discuss in "Planned Parenthood's Misleading Claims on Mental Health and Abortion", unfortunately abortion providers and services, such as Planned Parenthood and government websites in Australia and the U.S. ignore this narrow conclusion of the TFMHA and instead use it to make claims that abortion does not cause emotional effects.  This is very misleading to women considering abortion and fails to acknowledge the women who do suffer adverse affects and are in need of care and support from their health care providers and communities. 

 

Are you suffering emotional effects after abortion?  You can find help in your area using our online directory or guide or call now:

24 Hr Helpline: 1800 090 777 (Aus)

or

24 Hr International Helpline:

866 482 5433 (USA)

(exit code) 1 866 483 5433 (Intl)

 

1 TFMHA - Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (2008). Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion. Washington, DC. American Psychological Association Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion. http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/abortion/mental-health.pdf

2 TFMHA. 2008. Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion. Washington, DC. American Psychological

Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.   http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/abortion/mental-health.pdf

  p.7.  "..it is crucial to distinguish between clinically significant mental disorders, such as major depression,

generalised anxiety disorder, or posttraumatic stress disorder, and a normal range of negative emotions or feelings

one might experience following a difficult decision, such as feelings of regret, sadness or dysphoria.  While the latter

feelings may be significant, by themselves they do not constitute psychopathology."

 

3 http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dysphoria

 

 

Hits: 4978
Rate this blog entry:
0
Open Letter To Cecile Richards: Care for Women Hurting After Planned Parenthood Videos

Warning: This post contains links to videos on abortion that are graphic and disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.

 

Dear Planned Parenthood CEO, Cecile Richards,

In your statement on a recent controversial video of Planned Parenthood staff, you said:

"Our top priority is the compassionate care that we provide.. As always, if there is any aspect of our work that can be strengthened, we want to know about it, and take swift action to address it." 

I write in response, to request Planned Parenthood address an urgent need for care of post abortive women (and others) who have been deeply affected by their experience at Planned Parenthood and by staff comments in this video and further releases. 

Women who have had an abortion at one of your facilities but were not well informed, have spoken.  They have expressed great pain and heartache after learning of the reality of their baby's development early in pregnancy and of abortion procedures, which were not explained to them beforehand. 

After the release of the first Planned Parenthood video, Misha, who had an abortion at Planned Parenthood seventeen years ago, revealed she couldn't sleep for three days:

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Misha-Screen-Shot-2_20150724-144018_1.png 

Misha's story is that at about 10 weeks pregnant, Planned Parenthood staff told her that her pregnancy was just a 'blob'.  She was pro-choice and believed them.  Unlike now, there wasn't information on foetal development she could search on the internet.  After the abortion, she went to a library to look up pictures of foetuses and was distressed by what she saw.  She regretted her decision and felt like that she had been denied her right to make a choice because she had been lied to and was not provided the information she deserved. 

The Planned Parenthood viral videos have caused Misha to relive those painful memories, made even more hurtful by staff comments about harvesting body parts of foetuses at 10 weeks, when she was told her pregnancy was just a 'blob'.  She cried for days and days and couldn't sleep.  However, although Misha expressed her pain to Planned Parenthood, not a single representative of your company offered her support links or help. 

Ms Richards, despite the graphic nature of these videos and inevitable mental health issue for some post abortion women, you have offered no counselling for them.  Misha's experience at Planned Parenthood is similar to many other testimonies of women shared on Silent No More: 

"I was 15 years old when my mother and I returned to Planned Parenthood after the contraception they provided months before failed.  I was told I was 11 weeks pregnant and that my pregnancy was a 'clump of cells'.. I was not given any counselling of any kind whatsoever.  Today, I deeply regret my abortion." - Shadia 

"My name is Barbara and I am 43 years old.  When I was 21, I had an abortion with the help of Planned Parenthood of West Bend, Wisconsin.  Planned Parenthood told me at that time that my baby was nothing but tissue at that point in my pregnancy.  I was about 10 weeks along.  It was nothing but lies..  There was no counselling afterwards, and no one to talk to.. Please stop this happening to other women.. " 

"There was absolutely no counselling about the possible emotional aftermath of having an abortion.  I became suicidal and had no one to turn to.  And to find out that what I was aborting was not a "blob" of tissue, but an identifiably human form, complete with heartbeat, finger and toes.  Planned Parenthood was woefully wrong to lie and not offer any post-abortion counselling." - Susan, New Jersey 

Ms Richards, please ensure Planned Parenthood's compassionate care is not limited to women before an abortion but afterwards too. Planned Parenthood should offer all women counselling after an abortion, should they need it. The Planned Parenthood website is confusing on the availability of post abortion counselling at various Planned Parenthood locations. 

Particuarly let those women hurt by comments of Planned Parenthood staff know where they can get counselling. Please apologise to these women, Ms Richards. Not just for the 'tone' of staff comments but for the failure of Planned Parenthood for decades to inform women of human development and explain abortion procedures that they had a right to know.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tiana Sakr

CEO, Women and Babies Support (WOMBS) International Ltd

 


If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please call 911 (USA) or 000 (Australia), otherwise the National Suicide Prevention Line (USA) at 1(800) 273-8255 or Lifeline (Australia) at 13 11 14. 

If you are experiencing emotional problems such as inability to sleep, constant crying, anger, anxiety or inability to concentrate, please seek help with a local counsellor or therapist. For assistance, call now:

24 Hr International Helpline:

      866 482 5433 (USA)

(exit code) 1 866 482 5433 (Intl)

Or, if you are in Australia:

1800 090 777 (Aus)

Otherwise, our online directory at http://abortiongroup.com/index.php/get-help/findservices or Care Net at http://www.care-net.org/find-a-pregnancy-center may assist you in locating a counsellor near you.  

Pregnancy centers usually offer free counselling both before and after crisis pregnancy and abortion.

Hits: 4825
Rate this blog entry:
1
Planned Parenthood's Misleading Claims on Abortion and Mental Health

America's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood in its latest publication, "The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion"(2013)1, claims that "legally induced abortion does not pose mental health problems for women" and that "most substantive studies in the last 30 years have found abortion to be a relatively benign procedure in terms of emotional effect.."  I looked carefully at the research Planned Parenthood refers to and these claims are false.  The two main reviews cited by Planned Parenthood do not support a general claim that abortion does not affect the mental health of women.  Planned Parenthood's claims on abortion and mental health are both misleading and irresponsible.

When I read Planned Parenthood's publication and similar statements from other abortion providers, I wondered about claims that abortion does not have emotional effects because so many women have expressed deep and ongoing negative emotional reactions after abortion.  It just didn't seem right because although women in general are obviously coping, all the women after abortion who I know personally have suffered so much mentally in private and for a long time and I have read the stories of many more who have gone through similar experiences.

So I spent weeks looking into the actual research on mental health and abortion referenced by Planned Parenthood, reading mammoth reports.  Firstly, the 100 page report by the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA)2 in 2008 and then the 250 page report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC)3 in 2011 (London).  These reports are the result of two major systematic reviews that Planned Parenthood cites to support it's own claims on mental health and abortion 

Firstly, Planned Parenthood makes this opening statement, "legally induced abortion does not pose mental health problems for women" and says this is supported by rigorous reviews in the last five years.  It goes on to give conclusions from the two reviews by the AMRC and the TFMHA that I just mentioned.  However, in doing so, Planned Parenthood fails to make some crucial points which are necessary to understand the context of these reviews and the conclusions they make.

Looking at the AMRC report, it is important to note this review excluded negative emotional effects and research evidence of mental health problems within 90 days of an abortion.  Its focus was on clinically diagnosed mental health disorders or mental illness beyond 3 months of an abortion.  Planned Parenthood does not mention this.  It does not define mental health problems anywhere in it's publication and seems to confuse this term with emotional effects when these two outcomes are actually treated very differently in the TFMHA and AMRC reviews into mental health and abortion.  

The AMRC conclusions do not directly support Planned Parenthood's statement, 'legally induced abortion does not pose mental health problems for women.'  It concluded that support and proper care should be available for all women who have an unwanted pregnancy "because the risk of mental health problems increases whatever the pregnancy outcome".

Also the TFMHA review does not support Planned Parenthood's opening statement.  The TFMHA report did not conclude that no women suffer mental health problems as a result of legal induced abortion.  In fact it says, "To state that women in general do not show an increased incidence of mental health problems following a single abortion, however, does not mean that no women experience such problems."(p.91)

The TFMHA also clearly state in their report how crucial it is to define "mental health problems" (which it defines as clinically diagnosed/measured mental disorders).  The Planned Parenthood publication fails to share this information.  Planned Parenthood fails to inform women that claims made by the paper in reference to mental health problems do not include the negative emotions or behaviour, e.g. sadness, regret, guilt, or even depression below the clinical threshold, that may affect a women's health after an abortion. Unless this is made clear, readers may otherwise think the conclusions made by the APA on mental health problems includes all negative psychological effects, including emotional healh

Planned Parenthood makes another claim in reference to the AMRC review, falsely stating it, "reviewed all studies about the emotional effects of abortion that had been published in English between 1990 and 2011."  As mentioned earlier, the AMRC excluded 'emotional effects' of abortion as being 'beyond the scope' of its review and only concluded on evidence on mental health problems (clinically measured or validated using rating scales) and substance abuse from a very limited number of studies in the end. In fact by the time the AMRC was done with excluding studies because they did not meet inclusion criteria it was left with only 180 studies out of 8909 references from 1990-2011, and drew its final conclusions on mental health outcomes from between 1 & 4 studies only (see p.108-118 of report3).  This claim by Planned Parenthood which indicates that the AMRC conducted a rigorous review on emotional effects and abortion is hence false.

As the TFMHA says, "abortion means different things to different women" which may "lead to variability in women's psychological experiences to their particular abortion experience.  For these reasons, global statements on the psychological impact of abortion on women can be misleading."(p.9)  Planned Parenthood should have noted this important observation of the TFMHA and refrained from making a global statement about abortion and mental health problems that seriously misinforms the public, especially health providers and vulnerable women in pregnancy who may make decisions based on these claims.  

 

1  Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.  The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion. 2013. 1 - 3.  http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/Emotional_Effects_of_Induced_Abortion.pdf. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 

2  TFMA. Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion. Washington, DC. American Psychological Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.  http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/abortion/mental-health.pdf

3 AMRC. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. (2011). Induced Abortion and Mental Health - A Systematic Review

of the Mental Health Outcomes of Induced Abortion, Including Their Prevalence and Associated Factors. London. 

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges/National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

http://www.nccmh.org.uk/reports/ABORTION_REPORT_WEB FINAL.pdf  Retrieved on 10 July 2014.

 

Hits: 4486
Rate this blog entry:
1

Posted by on in After Abortion
Emotional Repression

I am sharing this, because I know so many suffering from this, and have dealt with it myself. You have permission to share if you think others would be touched:

With The Crying

 

All my life, I’ve internalized

Yet I’ve managed to be surprised

When I’m feeling so sick, I can hardly move

Or about to blow a gasket, for the slightest thing.

 

I’ve always felt such pressure

To keep this under wraps

But where the pressure came from

Is not easy to admit.

For you see it came from no one

As badly as from me

Though I’d put the blame on others

Before saying it’s ‘cause of me.

 

There were many rules that I set for myself

Number 1 being I must never cry

Because for some reason that was the absolute worst

Thing that could happen, especially in a group.

 

But with the crying went laughter, and even blinking and yawning,

For those things also brought on the dreaded tears.

I could not speak, out of fear that I would lose it

But then became resentful when no one knew what was wrong.

 

With the crying went so many words and things

I was now put off by Kleenex, even if I had just sneezed

If you asked me ‘are you sad?’ I’d deny it to your face

Even though on the inside, I was in a VERY DARK place.

 

With the crying went my health

Which surprised me quite a bit.

I began to dread going out

For fear that I’d break down.

Whenever I’d feel that horrid lump of emotion in my throat

I’d force it down to be replaced by nausea, reflux and pain.

 

With the crying went relationships and fun

I feared watching movies, for fear that I would cry.

I feared hearing stories that were happy or were sad

For fear of a breakdown which would’ve been so bad.

 

It’s now been past a decade

Since I really let it out.

I’ve got to say at first

I was really proud

To go so long without it,

But now I see I was wrong.

My fear of crying has robbed me and oh so many others

Of oh so very many things, more than listed above.

 

I do not say all must go and cry

But I pray you learn from my great struggles

And at least try not to force it away.

 

 Written by: Susi O Fanabba

Hits: 3533
Rate this blog entry:
0
Posted by on in After Abortion
Why I Speak Up About Abortion

I have been asked plenty of times, why I speak about my loss so often and so publicly. And frankly, there are several reasons.

  • Initially, the main reason was because there was so little available for or about us post abortive siblings. I had no one to talk to about my pain and such, besides my own siblings. And if I felt that way, I knew it was likely very many more were feeling the same.
  • In a special way I wanted to reach out to the parents who were considering abortion for the sake of their other children, present or to come. I was now aware of the terrible effect it could have on siblings.
  • I feel I have an obligation of sorts to be a voice to those poor siblings who are unable to do so, either because of lack of parental support or because they feel unable to because of the emotional toll, etc. 
  • I share because I want to connect with other hurting families.
  • One of the biggest reasons I continue to put myself out there though, is because I know first hand, the great toll that emotional repression can have on so many. But I am also blessed to know first hand, just how healing it is to find someone you trust enough to open up to, or some other healthy outlets. 
Hits: 4539
Rate this blog entry:
1
Go to top