Considering Abortion? :
Abortion Questions Answered
Risks of Abortion
Emotional, Pyschological, and Spiritual Reactions
Abortion is a medical procedure, but it can have lasting consequences in other areas of your life.
Just as your emotions may be running high as you make your decision, you will likely have some sort of emotional reaction following an abortion. Many women feel relief but for some, more negative emotions may surface and endure for years afterward. Women who have experienced depression, anxiety, or other psychological iessues prior to an abortion are at increased risk of experiencing:
- Loneliness / isolation
- Emotional detachment / numbing
The negative emotional response to an abortion can develop into a psychological issue worthy of clinical attention and treatment. It’s important to seek the help of a licensed counselor or therapist if you’re experiencing psychological distress following an abortion. The following are the most common disorders arising from negative abortion experiences and post-abortion stress:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)—flashbacks, nightmares, triggered responses, numbing
- Clinical depression—pervasive depressed mood, changes in appetite, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, low self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts and behavior
- Anxiety—development of certain phobias, social inhibition, uncontrollable worry
- Substance abuse—unhealthy use of drugs and/or alcohol
- Eating disorders—preoccupation with weight and body image; binge eating; purging behaviors such as laxative use, vomiting, or excessive exercise
Spiritual and religious beliefs may impact your decision for the pregnancy as well as your response to an abortion experience. There may be a lot of conflict between your personal spiritual beliefs and what seems to be the most logical or rational choice. For women who hold spiritual beliefs regarding abortion or the nature of human life, there are spiritual risks to consider.
- How will this decision impact my relationship to God?
- How does God view my situation?
- What do my religious or spiritual beliefs teach about abortion?
- What are my values and does abortion violate my values?
- How do the other options for my pregnancy align with my values or spiritual beliefs?
- How will a decision to abort affect me if I am opposed to abortion?
- Do I believe there will be the consequences or repercussions in choosing abortion?
Not all women experience relief after an abortion. For some, the relief is fleeting and replaced by anger, sadness, guilt, or emotional numbness. Many women feel isolated from friends and family because of their abortion and don’t know where to turn for help. If you’re struggling with an emotional, psychological, or spiritual reaction to your abortion experience, you don’t have to do it alone. Avenue Women's Center offers free, confidential after-abortion support through Restore. Contact Restore at 630-599-0043 or care [at] restoreafterabortion [dot] com to talk to a caring professional and learn more about our recovery options.
Not near DuPage County, Illinois? Use the CARE Directory to search for agencies that provide post-abortion support services in your area. There is also a list of resources that can help you process your abortion experience.