Abortion Effects

How abortion effects women, men, children and society

This section of the site explores how abortion effects society as a whole and how it effects people in particular

  • Check out abortion from the child's perspective
  • Read personal stories from women who have had an abortion
  • Find out how you can help a post-abortive friend

FAQ's on the effects of abortion 

Q1. What is post-abortion syndrome

Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) is at present understood to be a type of post-traumatic stress disorder. Its outward manifestations such as postnatal depression, suicidal behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, marriage and family breakdown, child neglect and abuse, domestic violence, depression, anxiety attacks, compulsive disorders and other mental health problems are increasingly evident in our communities today.

Melbourne psychiatrist Dr Eric Seal, who defined PAS as "a delayed or slow developing, prolonged and sometimes chronic grief syndrome" stated: 

The post-abortion syndrome is not like a more severe form of postnatal blues. It is far more serious, more delayed in onset, more lasting and more fundamentally involved in subsequent personality development.

He also said that..

If the syndrome persists and is not treated adequately, personality changes will gradually emerge and affect one's family life, one's working capacity, and one's social and recreational potentials to say the least.

Symptoms of PAS can include

  • frequent weeping
  • depression
  • loss of concentration
  • feelings of grief and anxiety, guilt and remorse, sadness
  • isolation, alienation, victimisation
  • sense of hopelessness
  • self-destructive behaviour - suicidal
  • alcohol and / or drug abuse, eating disorders
  • abusive relationships and repeat abortions
  • extreme or chronic anger
  • sleep disorders and nightmares
  • loss of self-esteem
  • sexual dysfunction
  • relationship problems with spouse, children and / or peers
  • withdrawn / inappropriate emotional responses
  • compulsive disorders
  • increased tendency towards violence
  • dramatic personality changes or value disorientation
  • memory loss, hallucinations
  • flashbacks and anxiety attacks
  • an atonement child - the deliberate pregnancy trying to 'make up' for the aborted baby
  • anniversary reactions (around the time of the abortion date / and or the due date of the birth), which may not start until many years post event, can include major depression, anxiety, headaches, abdominal pain, eating irregularities, sleeping difficulties, abusing children, gastrointestinal symptoms or complaints relating to the reproductive system.

Q2. How can abortion ultimately cause breast cancer?

Almost all of the risk factors which are known to increase the risk of breast cancer are associated with some kind of excess exposure to the main female sex steroid hormone, oestrogen. The theory on how this works in an abortion is quite simple. The biggest surge of oestrogen occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Oestrogen goes sky high. That's okay because although it stimulates the growth of the breasts, toward the end of the pregnancy other hormones kick in that make the breast tissue mature, which also kills off cells that are not needed. Once the mature cells are (ready) to produce milk, they are not in a growing mode.

Consequently they are much less likely to be subject to the mutogenic or initiating effects of carcinogens, (the substances that produce cancer). The carcinogens will affect cells which basically can grow.

Q3. What is femicide?

It is no secret that many societies place a much higher value on male children than on female children. In China, baby boys are greeted as a "big happiness;" baby girls are a "small happiness." A traditional Hindu bridal blessing says "May you be the mother of a hundred sons." Indian parents blow horns, have big parties, and give the midwife a large tip if she delivers a boy. If she delivers a girl, she guiltily slinks out the back door. In China, India, and many other Eastern countries, there is far more emphasis on the extended family than there is in the West.

It is natural for children to care for their parents when they are no longer able to care for themselves. Therefore, boys are seen as an asset because they guarantee that the parents will not become destitute or be abandoned in their old age. Boys are also able to labor in the fields if they stay with the family.

On the other hand, girls are considered liabilities because they require a dowry and then leave the family to care for their husbands and children. The prejudice against women in these societies is pervasive and extreme in many instances. Women must endure conditions unheard of in the West. The result of this attitude is quite predictable.

In China, Korea, and India, the abortion of girls has exploded. In 1985, the world sex-ratio average for newborns was 102.5 boys per 100 girls; in Korea it was 117 to 100. The situation in Korea became so intolerable that it is now illegal for doctors to reveal the gender of preborn babies to parents in that country.

Q4. Should we advocate abortion for babies at risk from HIV?

It has been said that an unborn baby contacting HIV whilst in utero should be aborted to prevent the "child suffering terribly later." Common sense should tell you that this is a ludicrous idea as nothing can compare to the horrific suffering a child goes through during an abortion. However, such questions do merit serious contemplation in order that we can develop a truly compassionate pro-life stance on the issue.

Firstly, let us look at the evidence. The risk of an unborn child contacting HIV virus from a positive mother is only 25% (Centre for Disease Control, USA, March 1987). However, all babies born to HIV positive mothers will test positive at birth, not because they themselves have the virus, but because they are passive recipients of their mothers' antibodies.

(Remember a diagnosis of HIV status is made on the presence of antibodies produced by the baby to fight the virus, not on the basis of the virus itself). In time, as the infant's own immune system develops, 75% of them will no longer need their mother's antibodies as they do not have the virus.

This is why it is especially important for women to be tested for HIV early in pregnancy. Research for the National Institutes of Health (1996) report that the HIV anti-viral drug AZT could keep a mother from passing HIV onto her unborn child. (Gorman, Time) In this study, three times as many HIV-infected babies were born to untreated mothers as were born to mothers given the AZT medication.

Preventing HIV in unborn babies is important because their immune systems are very immature when they are born. HIV makes them sicker than adults at a fast rate.

Read more on the effects of abortion below

  • Issues relevant to Women
  • How it affects men
  • If the child could speak
  • Society and Abortion