By Christine Kalmbach
Learn the real risks of abortion.
Planned Parenthood’s website says, “Abortion is a safe and legal way to end pregnancy.”
Safe is a relative term. You may survive abortion physically. You may survive abortion emotionally. You may think you survived abortion spiritually. But I am here to tell you, Post-Abortion Trauma is real, the pain is real and the shame is real. You most likely have hidden your abortion from those you know and love. You may have never been able to tell even one living soul. You may have turned to drugs or alcohol to numb yourself out to try to stop the pain or to try to stop your mind from thinking about it over and over. You may have gone on to be promiscuous –thinking your body was just supposed to be used or only feel pleasure and not pain and that the next one would fulfill all your dreams and truly love you…I don’t know what your story is but I can tell you the deceiver wants you to be scared, to be ashamed, to feel guilty, to isolate yourself, and to be so embarrassed that you live in the pain alone.
Thinking about abortion?
Planned Parenthood directs you to a health center if you think you’re pregnant. The only problem is is that they are not in the business of helping women deliver babies, receive pre-natal care or walk you through the process of adoption (and no on-site mammograms by the way). They are there to test you for sexually transmitted diseases (if you only have one partner and they have only been with you, then there is no risk for STD’s/STI’s), to test for pregnancy, dole out birth control and to do abortions.
Planned Parenthood tells you in-clinic abortion procedures are very safe — but there are risks. It is questionable on how much they share with each patient? Many clinics omit or withhold information for a variety of reasons; sometimes it’s political, sometimes because they fear lawsuits or even because the patient may change their mind if given all the risks.
The risks increase the longer you are pregnant. They also increase if you have sedation or general anesthesia. Possible risks include
- an allergic reaction
- blood clots in the uterus
- incomplete abortion — part of the pregnancy is left inside the uterus
- failure to end the pregnancy
- injury to the cervix or other organs
- undetected ectopic pregnancy
- very heavy bleeding
Most often, these complications are simple to treat with medicine or other treatments, says Planned Parenthood’s website. (1) Reality is that many complications may not be simple to treat – it really depends on the person.
Planned Parenthood goes on to justify the risks of abortion versus the risks of childbirth:
The risk of death from childbirth is 11 times greater than the risk of death from an abortion procedure during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. (As if that was a reason or justification to go ahead and murder your child instead of carrying your child to term and delivering them)! Don’t you feel better about abortion, now? No. Planned Parenthood’s website states, “that after about 20 weeks of gestation in pregnancy the risks for both are about the same.”
So what are the real risks of abortion? Let’s break it down into three categories; Physically, Emotionally and Spiritually.
Physically the risks according to Dr. Beverly McMillan*,
What are the physical complications of abortion?
The most common, immediate, and short-term complications include excessive bleeding, chronic and acute infections, intense pain, high fever, convulsions, shock, coma, incomplete removal of the baby or placenta (which can cause life-threatening infections and sterility), pelvic inflammatory disease, punctured or torn uteruses, and even death.
Abortion can also result in uterine scarring, a weakened cervix, blocked fallopian tubes, and other damage to reproductive organs that can make it difficult to conceive or carry a child to term in the future. This latent morbidity of abortion results in long-term and sometimes permanent damage.
Women who have had abortions also experience more ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, infertility, hysterectomies, stillbirths, miscarriages, and premature births (the leading cause of birth defects) than women who have not had abortions. Abortion has also been linked to increased risks of developing breast, cervical, and uterine cancer.(2)
I’ll admit that abortion is not a good thing. And it may have physical and psychological risks. But don’t you have to admit that legal abortion is safer than illegal abortion?
No. More than 90 percent of illegal abortions were already performed by doctors.
When abortion was illegal, abortionists had to be very careful to avoid infection, laceration, and puncturing of the uterus, since a visit to the emergency room was an invitation for a police investigation. Not anymore.
Today, abortionists are free to operate on an assembly-line basis. The faster they work, the more money they make. When women get hurt…well, that’s just the risk that goes with any surgery.
I still think that legal abortions must be at least marginally safer than illegal abortions. Certainly women who suffer physical complications can get emergency medical treatment faster now without being afraid of becoming involved in a criminal investigation. Right?
That’s true. But that is the only health benefit of legalized abortion.
The overall impact is still very negative because the total number of women having abortions has increased dramatically.
Why? Because legalizing abortion has made it easier to pressure reluctant women into having abortions. Before 1973, women could resist an unwanted abortion on the grounds that it was illegal and unsafe.
But now people assume that since abortion is legal, it must be safe. That makes it harder for women to resist unwanted abortions for health or safety reasons.
As a result, the number of abortions has increased ten- to fifteen-fold with only a minimal improvement, if any, in safety.
So, while the percentage of deaths from hemorrhage and infections may have gone down, the actual number of women suffering these complications has gone up far more.
In addition, since psychological complications are even more common than physical complications, the number of women experiencing complications of one type or another has increased dramatically.(3)
Also, women who have an abortion are at risk of pre-term birth in future pregnancies. And, induced abortion is a risk factor for a woman developing Placenta Previa in future pregnancies. Decades of medical evidence has revealed that abortion carries significant psychological risks including increased risks of depression, anxiety and suicide. (4)
Emotionally, women suffer when they abort their child(ren).
REQUIREMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT:
A study of the medical records of 56,741 California medicaid patients revealed that women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following abortion or delivery. Rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years.
In a study of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor.
A 2006 study published in Sleep, the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, found that women who experienced abortion were more likely to be treated for sleep disorders or disturbances compared to women who gave birth.
A 5 year retrospective study in two Canadian provinces found significantly greater use of medical and psychiatric services among women with a history of abortion. Most significant was the finding that 25% of women who had abortions made visits to psychiatrists as compared to 3% of the control group. Women who have had abortions are significantly more likely than others to subsequently require admission to a psychiatric hospital. At especially high risk are teenagers, separated or divorced women, and women with a history of more than one abortion.
Since many post-abortive women use repression as a coping mechanism, there may be a long period of denial before a woman seeks psychiatric care. These repressed feelings may cause psychosomatic illnesses and psychiatric or behavioral in other areas of her life. As a result, some counselors report that unacknowledged post-abortion distress is the causative factor in many of their female patients, even though their patients have come to them seeking therapy for seemingly unrelated problems.
All studies report higher rates of psychological problems after abortion compared to other women. Women who had abortions also had:
- 59 percent increased risk for suicidal thoughts
- 61 percent increased risk for mood disorders
- 61 percent increased risk for social anxiety disorders
- 261 percent increased risk for alcohol abuse
- 280 percent increased risk for any substance use disorder
Researchers have identified a large number of statistically significant risk factors that identify which women are at greatest risk of experiencing one or more severe reactions to abortion. The following is list of risk factors identified by the American Psychological Association Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion in their 2008 report:
- terminating a pregnancy that is wanted or meaningful
- perceived pressure from others to terminate a pregnancy
- perceived opposition to the abortion from partners, family, and/or friends
- lack of perceived social support from others
- various personality traits (e.g., low self-esteem, a pessimistic outlook, low-perceived control over life)
- a history of mental health problems prior to the pregnancy
- feelings of stigma
- perceived need for secrecy
- exposure to antiabortion picketing
- use of avoidance and denial coping strategies
- feelings of commitment to the pregnancy
- ambivalence about the abortion decision
- low perceived ability to cope with the abortion
- history of prior abortion
- late term abortion
- being an adolescent (not an adult)
- having a non-elective (therapeutic or coerced) abortion
- prior history of abortion (having a second or third abortion, or more)(5)
Women whom had abortions also had higher suicide ideation, suicide attempts, increased rates of alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, child-neglect or abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (hyperarousal, intrusion and constriction). They also had increased cigarette smoking with correspondent negative effects, divorce and chronic relationship problems and repeated abortions. (5)
This list is not complete, but it is sobering is it not? It has been proven that a woman who has had an abortion has more than likely been impacted by the physical and emotional effects of abortion. But what about Spiritually?
Spiritually, Alyssa Endres shares the spiritual impact of abortion:
“…abortion hurts women spiritually because it is not simply a process of evacuating the contents of a uterus, but the ending of a human life. God states in the sixth commandment, “Thou shall not murder.” Each baby is created by God and is part of His plan as stated in Psalms 139:13-14, “You made all the delicate inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb… you saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe…” Human life does not begin when the baby breathes, or when its heart begins to beat, buts its life is continuous and inherited.
Life is passed from family to family and recorded in the Bible back to the first human beings created by God, Adam and Eve. Professor Garret Hardin, Department of Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, stated Life ends often, but it never begins. It is just passed from one cell to another. All biologists…are in agreement with that… When a women interrupts God’s plan of life through abortion, she may suffer spiritual void and separation from God.
Not only do abortions end the life of a baby, but they also have harmful physical, emotional, and spiritual effects of the women (and men) involved. We need to protect and value all human life from the moment of conception to natural death. The future of America and our world rest on that.” (6)
We are called to choose life. We are to protect all stages of life. One of the ways you can help is to pray for everyone impacted by abortion. Pray for women and men to choose life. You can vote for people who are pro-life. You can contact your legislators and tell them to defund Planned Parenthood. If you are pregnant now or have personally have been affected by abortion, you can get help. Call International Helpline at 866-482-LIFE or go to internationalhelpline.org (full disclosure – I am on Staff at the International Helpline). You do not have to suffer through the fear, the shame, the silence, or the guilt any longer! Get help today!
(1) – http://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion/in-clinic-abortion-procedures#sthash.txnm2DVp.dpuf
*Dr. Beverly McMillan is an ob/gyn. In 1975, she became the first woman to open an abortion clinic in Mississippi. She ceased doing abortions in 1978 when she became convinced that the abortions she was performing were causing everyone involved far more harm than good.