Bullying and Post-Abortion Trauma

Bullying, in particular of LGBT individuals, has been a popular topic of discussion in the media. Plenty of celebrities have voiced their belief that life will get better for those bullied. In my opinion, it only gets better if individuals grow stronger against criticism or if society becomes more accepting of differences. Bullying does not magically disappear once one gets older as we would like to believe, as evidenced from anti-abortion bullying.

One can easily find information about many anti-abortion advocates, who bully women seeking abortions. While there are many that just want to inform women of their options, there are also those who outright pressure and scare women seeking abortions. Usually religion is used to establish self-reproach in abortion seekers. Instead of privately receiving abortion, some women must walk by protesters standing outside clinics passing judgment and criticism. Media outlets perpetuate anti-abortion sentiments with such phrases as “baby killer” and “god is your enemy.” As a result, women can be humiliated by the social scrutiny.

Anti-abortion bullying makes me wonder if the claimed post-abortion mental trauma is a result of bullying. [Read more...]

Pro-Choice News Roundup

We’ve got a mishmash of articles about women’s health for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

The big abortion-mental health lie gets debunked – Washington Post
Calling Bullshit on Breast Cancer Memes – The F Word
Unequivocally Against Female Genital Mutilation – On the Issues

And just in case you missed it on our site last week, here’s a great article about maternal health in Africa.

Don’t forget to join us on Sunday for the Feminists For Choice Tweetup. Details are in the sidebar.

New Study Debunks “Abortion Trauma Syndrome”

coverA new study in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry called “Is there an ‘Abortion Trauma Syndrome?’ Critiquing the Evidence” looks at all of the studies related to abortion and mental health to conclusively determine what impact, if any, abortion has on a woman’s mental health. “Abortion trauma syndrome” has also been called “post-abortion syndrome.” In a review of 216 peer-reviewed articles on the subject of abortion and mental health, the authors of this study found that “the most well controlled studies continue to demonstrate that there is no convincing evidence that induced abortion of an unwanted pregnancy is a per se significant risk factor for psychiatric illness.” (p. 276)

For starters, let’s contextualize abortion. According to the 2005 World Health Report

  • 211 million pregnancies occur worldwide each year; 46 million end in induced abortions.
  • 40% of these abortions occur in unsafe conditions, resulting in 68,000 maternal deaths.
  • In the US, 1.3 million of the 6 million pregnancies each year end in induced abortion.
  • 20% of American women have had an abortion.
  • The risk of death in the US from abortion is 1:160,000, which is lower than the risk of death from childbirth, appendectomy, or tonsillectomy.

Given the relatively low risk of death, the debate about abortion has shifted to focus on the perceived mental health impacts of abortion in order for abortion opponents to claim that they are concerned about the health and welfare of women.  However, “Abortion Trauma Syndrome” and “Post-Abortion Syndrome” are not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as mental illnesses, and they are not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. [Read more...]

There’s No Such Thing As Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)

747910_self_portrait_2Anti-choice protesters who stand outside of abortion clinics are all about the lies and misinformation. They shout at patients and try to convince them that they’re about to face certain peril if they walk through the doors of the Planned Parenthood. Aside from the lie that abortion causes breast cancer, anti-choicers like to tell women that they’ll have serious psychological impacts if they have an abortion.

Post-abortion syndrome (PAS) is not an actual medical diagnosis. According to the National Abortion Federation:

Many people are interested in learning about the possible effects of abortion on women’s emotional well-being, and several hundred studies have been conducted on this issue since the late 1970s. Unfortunately, much of the research on women’s psychological responses to abortion can be confusing. Nonetheless, mainstream medical opinions, like that of the American Psychological Association, agree there is no such thing as “post-abortion syndrome.”

Since the early 1980s, groups opposed to abortion have attempted to document the existence of “post-abortion syndrome,” which they claim has traits similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) demonstrated by some war veterans. In 1989, the American Psychological Association (APA) convened a panel of psychologists with extensive experience in this field to review the data. They reported that the studies with the most scientifically rigorous research designs consistently found no trace of “post-abortion syndrome” and furthermore, that no such syndrome is scientifically or medically recognized.

[Read more...]