Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that are intimately related to, and expressions of, a previous abortion experience.
Many believe PAS is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). PTSD is the result of having suffered an event so stressful and so traumatic that the person is taken beyond his/her ability to cope in a normal manner. Victims of PTSD are unable to simply resume their lives where they left off before the traumatic event. Instead they experience a variety of reactions that do not go away merely with the passage of time. Although the symptoms of PTSD (and PAS) are varied and may not surface for years after the trauma, they are nonetheless real and should be considered.
Immediately after an abortion, many women report a feeling of relief, but guilt and depression frequently follow. A national poll found that at least 56% of women experience a sense of guilt over their decision, though the pollster himself acknowledged that many women will not even admit having had an abortion. 1 In fact, a five-year study shows that 25% of women who have had abortions sought out psychiatric care, versus just 3% of women who have not had abortions. 2 Further, numerous studies reveal that women who have had an abortion have a high incidence of depression, stress, low self-esteem, suicidal feelings and substance abuse.3
Dr. Anne Speckhard, in a 1985 University of Minnesota study, researched "long-term manifestations of abortion" (5-10 years), and found that 81% of mothers reported preoccupation with their aborted child, 54% had nightmares, 35% had perceived visitations with their child, and 96% felt their abortion had taken a human life. 4
With the growing awareness of Post-Abortion Syndrome in scholarly and clinical circles, women with PAS can expect to receive a more sensitive appreciation of the suffering that they endure. Fortunately, a growing network of peer support groups of women who have had abortions offers assistance to women who are experiencing emotional difficulties.
Many post-abortive women have also been speaking out publicly about their own abortion experiences and the subsequent healing process. If you or someone you know maybe encountering PAS, please have the contact one of the following groups:
Most local Pregnancy Centers have or know of a post-abortive healing ministry.
|Silent No More Awareness Campaign|
|Rachel's Vineyard- retreats offered to both women and men for healing after abortion.|