It’s more than just a surgery

Leslie Arntz

Most pro-lifers seem preoccupied with the life of the unborn child — and justifiably so. Even by ignoring the injustices toward an unborn child, an investigation of the issues concerning women gives further support for pro-life decisions.

Evidence is accumulating that clearly points toward the reality of post-abortion syndrome, a form of post-traumatic stress. The trauma associated with Vietnam took years to manifest itself in many individuals, and the same pattern is appearing in women who have aborted children.

Planned Parenthood outright denies the existence of such a disorder, claiming it is rare.

Its reasoning? As a whole, most women say they are relieved after their abortion. Few feel guilt or remorse at this point. These feelings are attributed to the sudden hormonal changes, which intensify such feelings. However, Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice organizations present this data as support for the procedure.

The problems include the superficiality of the studies and the fact that many of these studies are considered invalid due to the timing of the inquiry — the syndrome doesn’t manifest itself for at least five years, and sometimes it takes 10 or 20.

Feelings are fleeting and often suppressed. Individual analysis determines the true effects of abortion. A simple questionnaire will not do. In-depth psychoanalysis of women has revealed repressed feelings of guilt or remorse, nervous symptoms and difficulty sleeping. Studies indicate that abortia increases tendencies toward self harm. Reported cases of substance abuse are multiplied.

Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse and British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology are only a few of the medical journals that have published papers in support of such findings and the reality of the syndrome.

Yet, the American Psychological Association shares the position of Planned Parenthood: Conclusive evidence just isn’t there.

Tell that to the thousands of women who regret their abortions and are willing to talk about it. More women are speaking up and organizations, such as the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and other post-abortion groups, including the Elliot Institute and Operation Outcry, provide support.

Even pro-choice organizations are beginning to address the psychological needs of women after abortions, but what about before? Their own studies indicate greater chances of suffering emotional effects if a problem is already present. What about the women who feel trapped because of social stigmas and spouses or partners who don’t want the baby? How is that empowering a woman? Where can these women turn?

Planned Parenthood details how to spot an anti-abortion counseling center. It goes on to generalize any anti-abortion center as being purposefully misleading, with untrained and unsupervised personnel. Such clinics are accused of purposefully lying to manipulate a woman into carrying her baby to term.

Legitimate clinics are lost in the rhetoric. The sad reality is that pro-life advocates are demonized just as much as pro-choice supporters.

Each side needs to take a step back from this issue. In the effort to see justice done, don’t neglect those caught in the crossfire. Provide the care and support so desperately needed by so many. A change in hearts and minds will never happen otherwise.

Leslie Arntz is a freshman journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].