Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Abortions
Men and women who felt they had inadequate counseling before an
abortion, as well as those who disagreed with their partners about the
decision to abort, were more likely to experience personal and
interpersonal problems following the procedure, according to a new
paper published in the medical journal Traumatology.
Researchers Catherine T. Coyle, Priscilla K. Coleman, and Vincent M.
Rue - all experts in the after-effects of abortion - collected data via
online surveys from 374 women who had a prior abortion and 198 men
whose partners had experienced elective abortion.
The results found that women who expressed dissatisfaction with their
pre-abortion counseling tended to have relationship problems, such as
obsessive intrusion, avoidance, and hyperarousal - and also tended to
describe the full diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder
(PTSD). Men with the same pre-abortion experience reported
When the individuals reported that their partner disagreed with the
decision to abort, women were more likely to report PTSD and intrusion
tendencies, while in men such disagreement was linked with PTSD,
intrusion, hyperarousal, and other relationship problems.
The researchers pointed out that few studies have examined men's
psychological responses to elective abortion, although the procedure
has been commonly linked to subsequent feelings of anger, anxiety,
guilt, grief, and powerlessness in men.
"Although men are involved with conception and abortion, they are not
routinely offered abortion counseling," they write. "Despite the
for greater inclusion of and attention to males in abortion clinics,
little has changed. Most men who accompany women for abortion do
receive counseling and are left alone to wait."
David Reardon, Executive Director of the Eliott Institute, told
LifeSiteNews.com in an email Wednesday that the results of the study
confirmed the importance of legislation to enforce better regulations
on abortion, such as Missouri's Negligent Screening Act (HB1236).
HB1236, sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Davis, would mandate that women
seeking abortion be evaluated for risk factors for adverse
psychological effects following an abortion, such as whether she is
being coerced or pressured into the procedure.
"Without such legislation, it is nearly impossible for women who suffer
psychological injuries from a coerced or unsafe abortion to hold the
abortionist liable for even gross negligence in regard to pre-abortion
screening and counseling," said Reardon.
"Proper screening and counseling will reduce abortion rates, especially
among women being pressured into unwanted or unsafe abortions, and will
also reduce the rate of psychological illness associated with
abortion," he continued. "But the only way to that goal is to
the barriers which prevent women from holding abortionists liable for
negligent screening and counseling."
Contact: Kathleen Gilbert
January 13, 2010
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