EFFECTS OF ABORTION
Symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)
There are no scientifically proven benefits for abortion.
Abortion has never been proven to be safe. The normal
cycle beginning with intercourse, impregnation and fertilization
is designed to end in the birth of a child. When abortion
shortens that cycle, there are devastating effects to
the body and to the mind. Post Abortion Syndrome is
formally defined as a category of Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder, which may be either acute or delayed. Women
who have undergone abortion may be grouped as :
Those who are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
on an acute or chronic basis.
Those who have no symptoms, but are at a risk at some
future stress point, e.g. a new pregnancy, or the inability
either to conceive or to complete a pregnancy, or at
times, some other major loss or crisis may act as the
In the acute form, the symptoms generally appear within
six months of the abortion and are frequently resolved
within the next six months. The delayed type, however,
shows much later onset, and the symptoms last longer.
In many cases of the delayed type, a specific trigger
evokes PAS e.g. admission to hospital, the birth of
a child or a traumatic event involving, perhaps, the
death of a relative or the child of a close friend.
There are wide ranges of symptoms and every woman with
PAS need not experience the following.
It seems obvious to say that any woman who volunteers
to destroy the life of the child she is carrying must,
at some time or another, feel guilt. If this is not
acknowledged and resolved then, it may manifest itself
in a number of random symptoms. Some women become
shopaholics, consume excessive alcohol or engage in
frantic activity within their homes and with voluntary
causes. The women may actually blame the person who
made arrangements for her abortion. Some women become
self-deprecating (I'm no good to anyone. I'm just
a waste of air), others may attempt suicide ("Murderers
deserve to die"). Some women get angry with others
in her immediate social network, relationships become
threatened (He's so fed up with my misery, he's found
someone else), men, in general, may be blamed ("If
it weren't for their lust there wouldn't be abortions"),
and even her parents may be condemned for not protecting
her ("Why didn't they stop me from seeing him?").
In many cases the guilt may be intensified by personification
of the aborted babies. Many mothers claim that they
knew the sex of their baby ("It just felt like
a little girl") and they weave around this gender
a set of characteristics and traits of a child who
Several women fear for the safety of their
surviving children. Their argument goes something
like: "If I can kill one child, couldn't I harm
another?" Another form of fear may lead the woman
to believe that she is a threat to her own life.
Abortion creates a more difficult grief for
the mother because she has consented to the 'killing'
of her child. And there is little support for the
woman, as people generally don't recognize that there
is a reason for grief after a voluntary abortion.
Women feel aggressive towards the person
who persuaded them to have an abortion. There are
frequent desires for retaliation. They feel angry
because they have been denied the gratification that
loving and being loved by their baby might have brought
them (particularly young women who were neglected
or insufficiently loved at home, as children).
- Disturbances of the Hormonal Cycle
Once a woman gets pregnant, a lot of powerful
hormones are released in her body. If this hormonal
cycle is abruptly terminated by an abortion, there
may be a feeling of aimlessness and depression caused
by the chemical effects.
- Anniversary reactions
Frequently, a year after an abortion there
is an escalation of many of these symptoms including
physical ones such as abdominal pain. Grief, anger
and the desire for retaliation also surface at the
time that the child would have been born. A weaker
form of this reaction may also be felt on Festivals,
even when there are other children present. The mother
may experience an acute sense of loss, an absence
of a child who should be present.
Many other symptoms may emerge. These include:
sleeplessness, appetite disorders (They do not take
trouble to watch their diets and become over-weight
on the grounds that they no longer wish to be attractive
to men and so can avoid relationships which may become
sexual), parenting problems over the management of
other children, depression, psychosomatic illnesses
and, for many, a profound fear of becoming a parent.
They deny themselves the pleasure of the birth of
another child on the grounds that they have destroyed
one child and may become abusers of another.
In worst cases, women are liable to have fetal fantasies,
uncontrollable weeping, a preoccupation with the mechanism
of abortion and sexual dysfunction. Among the common
symptoms of PAS are guilt, depression, grief, anxiety,
sadness, shame, helplessness and hopelessness. These
may result in lowered self-esteem, distrust, hostility
towards self and others, insomnia or recurring dreams
(these dreams are often filled with fear, mutilation,
empty prams, crying babies, lost children and death).
Even though a woman cannot see or hear what is happening
to her baby during an abortion, her mind is recording
what is happening. During sleep, it is not possible
for the mind to detach and deny the abortion. Therefore,
the recorded abortion sensations break through as dreams.
These visuals and sometimes auditory sensations, may
represent what happened during the abortion, not only
to the unborn baby, but also to the mother. Dreams should
be taken seriously.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) already present
in the mother may worsen after abortion. We are all
afraid of our own aggression, but we have an instinctual
restraint that guards us from hurting those we love.
When that instinctual restraint has been damaged by
an abortion, people realize that it may be harder to
rely on that instinctual restraint when they become
very angry. Therefore, they become frightened of the
possibility of hurting others.
Some women experience psycho-physiological symptoms,
such as eating disorders, and suicidal ideation, and
attempts are not uncommon. Neither is alcohol or drug
abuse, sexual dysfunction, insecurity, emotional numbness,
flashbacks of the abortion, fetal fantasies, uncontrollable
weeping, confused and/or distorted thinking. Victims
of PAS need support and often therapy as well. It isn’t
just a matter of them coming to accept the loss of their
aborted child, it is also the need to come to terms
with their role in that loss and the overwhelming guilt
that can come with it. Self-esteem has to be re-built.
- Bleeding is common. Most get by, but some need
- Death due to infection, haemorrhage and uterine
- Pelvic abscess, almost always from a perforation
of the uterus and sometimes also of the bowel. Sepsis
(blood poisoning, septicemia).
- Salpingitis, an infection in the fallopian tube.
Infection is probably most commonly associated with
fragments of placenta left behind in the womb. These
form a fertile culture medium. An inactive infection
is sometimes present in the fallopian tubes before
the operation, and this is activated by the abortion,
resulting in Salpingitis afterwards. According to
a British Medical Journal, Therapeutic Abortion and
Chlamydial Infection, vol 286 “These cases are
particularly at risk of becoming infertile. Modern
antibiotics often cannot eradicate completely the
milder sort of pelvic infection which leads to menstrual
irregularities, infertility and chronic pain in later
- Infection in the womb and tubes, often does permanent
damage. The fallopian tube is a fragile organ, a very
tiny bore tube. If infection injures it, it often
seals shut. The typical infection involving these
organs is known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
- Infertility: PID is difficult to manage and often
leads to infertility, even with prompt treatment.
Approximately 10% of women will develop tubal adhesions
leading to infertility after one episode of PID, 30%
after two episodes, and more than 60% after three
- Acute inflammatory conditions occur in 5% of the
cases, whereas permanent complications such as chronic
inflammatory conditions of the female organs and sterility
are definitely higher in women who aborted during
their first pregnancy.
- Abortion causes tubal pathology. Ectopic [tubal]
pregnancies are registered in 20-30% of these women.
The thin-walled tube cannot support this life, and
it soon ruptures, causing internal bleeding and requiring
emergency surgery. If the abortionist’s curette
scrapes or cuts too deeply across the opening of the
tubes, there is scar formation. When partial blockage
is a result of this procedure, the microscopic sperm
can still travel through the tube to fertilize the
ovum as it breaks out of the ovary. After fertilization,
this new human life, many hundred times larger than
the sperm, may not be able to get back through the
tube if it has been partly scarred or closed. Then
the tiny baby nests in the tube, and the mother has
an ectopic pregnancy.
- Women who have had an abortion are at an increased
risk of developing breast cancer. The normal cycle
of growth and development is interrupted by the abortion
and the breast cell growth becomes uncontrolled.
- Miscarriages of the third trimester (even mid-trimester)
or premature delivery: The main reason for this is
cervical incompetence. This can result from the too-early,
forceful dilatation (stretching open) of the cervix
(mouth of the womb). During an abortion procedure,
the cervical muscle must be stretched open. There
is no harm to the muscle in a D&C performed because
of a spontaneous miscarriage, as the cervix is usually
soft and often open. Also, there is rarely any damage
caused by a D&C done on a woman for excessive
menstruation or other medical reasons. When, however,
a normal, well-rooted placenta and growing baby are
scraped out of a firmly closed uterus, protected by
a long unripe cervix, this muscle can be and often
is torn. If enough muscle fibres are torn, the cervix
is permanently weakened, most damage being done if
this is her first pregnancy. The lowest part of a
woman’s uterus is the cervix, and, when a woman
is pregnant and stands upright, the baby’s head
rests on it, in effect, bouncing up and down on the
"door" throughout the pregnancy. The muscle
must be intact and strong in order to keep the cervix
closed. If it is weak or "incompetent",
it may not stay closed and may result in premature
opening and miscarriage, or premature birth.
- Blood clots are one of the causes of death to mothers
who deliver babies normally. They are also a cause
of death in healthy young women who have abortions
performed. Embolism (floating objects in the blood
that go to the lungs) is another problem. Childbirth
is a normal process, and the body is well prepared
for the birth of a child and the separation and expulsion
of the placenta. Surgical abortion is an abnormal
process, and slices the unripe placenta from the wall
of the uterus into which its roots have grown. This
sometimes causes the fluid around the baby, or other
pieces of tissue or blood clots, to be forced into
the mother’s circulation. These then travel
to her lungs causing damage and occasional death.
This is also a major cause of maternal death from
the salt poisoning method of abortion. Also, amniotic
fluid embolism has “emerged as an important
cause of death from legally induced abortion”.
Of 15 cases, the risk seems to be greater after 3
months. Treatment is ineffective and has an 80% mortality