Is Post-Abortion Syndrome Real?

Is Post-Abortion Syndrome Real?

by in Pregnancy

Table of Contents

Can a woman develop Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome after having an abortion? In this article we leave politics behind, take a closer look at the nature of PTSD, and examine how it could affect women who terminated a pregnancy.
The term “Post-Abortion Syndrome” (PAS for short) was coined by a pro-life activist called Vincent Rue in 1981, and the idea that undergoing an abortion is an immensely traumatic experience for some women has been promoted by pro-life campaign groups ever since.
The view that PAS does not exist has been around just as long as the term itself, and it's fair to say that both sides of the abortion debate feel equally strongly about Post-Abortion Syndrome. Abortion is a topic that provokes strong feelings in almost anyone. Abortion has very much become a political topic, and there is no reason to believe it won't remain so.
Meanwhile, real women with real-life situations are facing an unwanted pregnancy, or a wanted pregnancy that they think they may not be able to continue for whatever reason. Women from all political, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds get pregnant in difficult situations and find themselves considering abortion. Women of all ages, married, single, partnered consider terminating their pregnancy for all kinds of reasons ranging from medical to financial or personal reasons.
Difficult pregnancy circumstances can strike every fertile, sexually active woman — and any one of them may consider having an abortion, regardless of their previous views on the topic.
Politics are the last thing on the mind of these women.
When a woman weighs the pros and cons of terminating her pregnancy, many things will be on her mind. Whether or not she'll end up with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome afterwards is but one of them, but an important one nonetheless. Is Post-Abortion Syndrome Real? In other words, can women who had an abortion end up with PTSD symptoms? Or perhaps we should be asking why she couldn't?

An Apolitical Look At Post-Abortion Syndrome

Anyone reading an article vaguely related to abortion wants to know the bias of its author so it is, I think, reasonable to start there. I am a mother of two. I consider myself to be a feminist. I am pro-woman. Abortion makes me sick, as a concept and because I believe that the vast majority of women who choose abortion would not have done so if they felt they had a viable alternative.
I'd like to call myself anti-abortion, but I can't. As I said, any sexually active fertile woman could end up in a situation in which she considers one. That includes me, though my husband and I needed fertility treatment to conceive so it's unlikely. I wish no woman who isn't absolutely comfortable with the decision to abort would feel she had no other choice, but reality doesn't reflect that wish. That, then, leaves me being pro-choice and with a lot of respect for any woman who faces adverse pregnancy circumstances — no matter what she ends up deciding.
A few other things that might be relevant. I'm not an American. Here in Europe, abortion doesn't seem to be quite as political as it appears to be on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. I was also diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome from childhood sexual abuse. I aim to take an apolitical look at “Post-Abortion Syndrome”, or, perhaps better said, PTSD as the result of abortion.


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