Monday, October 5, 2015

Physical and Emotional Risks from Abortion

Ms. Donna Gardner, M.S.
Catholic Charities
Diocese of Palm Beach
Rachel’s Vineyard Coordinator

Physical and Emotional Risks from Abortion

What is an Abortion?
An abortion is the deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion Statistics (from the Alan Guttmacher Institute)
--46 million babies a year are aborted world-wide.
--for 41 years our country has said yes to the killing of innocent children, who have no voice.
--57 million babies have been aborted since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 in America.
--13% of Black American Women have had abortions since 1973--that is 36% of all abortions performed since its legalization (15 million).  Abortion is the number killer of Black Americans!
--49% of all pregnancies are unintended--half end in abortion.
--43% of all American women will have had 1 abortion by the time they are 45---43% of those women will have had 2 or more abortions.
--86% of all women who have had an abortion state that if they had had one person to support them, they would have chosen life.
--20% of all abortions are had by teenagers between the ages 15 and 19.
--Every 23 seconds a baby is aborted in the United States.
--1 of 3 American women will have an abortion by the time they are 43.
--1 of 4 children conceived in the United States is aborted.

Why are Women Driven to Abortion?
“They are driven in desperation, when alternatives seem too awful to contemplate. Yet, ironically the very act meant to produce relief in the long run, often produces its own very special brand of agony.”  
Sydna Masse - author of “Her Choice to Heal” 
Desperation is due to:
--Fear of family’s response
--Fear of rejection from their partner
--Financial burdens
--Someone pressuring them to abort

Men Suffer Too
--In 95% of all abortions the man plays a central role in the decision.
--Men do not talk about their abortion loss with anyone, not even their best friends.
--When a man is powerless to stop an abortion, or agrees and then regrets it, he can suffer from and resort to:
Rage and Anger
Sexual promiscuity
Grave concern for their partner and her well-being
Inability to communicate about the abortion
Risk taking behaviors, driving fast, jumping out of planes
Drug and Alcohol abuse
Food addictions

Physical Risks--Life-Threatening Risks of Abortion
Compared to pregnant women who had their babies, pregnant women who aborted
--3.5 times more likely to die in the following year
--1.6 times more likely to die of natural causes
--6 times more likely to die of suicide
--14 times more likely to die from homicide
--4 times more likely to die of injuries related to accidents

Physical Complications
About 10% of women suffer immediate complications after an abortion; one-fifth of which are life-threatening:
--Cervical injury
--Perforation of the uterus
--Chronic pain
--Anesthesia complications

Causes of death within a week of an abortion:
--Anesthesia complications

Other complications
 --Cancer – Significantly increased risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer (probably due to heavier smoking patterns after abortion)
--Health complications – A recent study published in a major medical journal found that 31% of American women surveyed who had undergone abortions had health complications
--Self-destructive lifestyles, spiraling health problems – Increased risk of promiscuity, smoking, drug abuse and eating disorders, which all put the woman at increased risk for other health problems
--Increase in doctor visits – Based on health care sought before and after abortion, there is an 80% increase in doctor visits and a 180% increase in doctor visits for psychosocial reasons after abortion

Reproductive Complications and Problems with Subsequent Deliveries
--Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (is an infection of the upper part of the female reproductive system namely the uterus, fallopian tubes, or the ovaries. Often there may be no symptoms. Signs and symptoms, when present may include: lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, fever, burning with urination, pain with sex, or irregular menstruation. Untreated PID can result in long term complications including: infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain, and cancer.
--Abortion puts women at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a major direct cause of infertility. PID also increases risk of ectopic pregnancies. Studies have found that approximately one-fourth of women who have chlamydia at the time of their abortion and 5% of women who don’t have chlamydia will develop PID within four weeks afterwards.
--Placenta Previa (is an obstetric complication in which the placenta is inserted partially or wholly in the lower uterine segment) — After abortion, there is a seven- to 15-fold increase in placenta previa in subsequent pregnancies, a life-threatening condition for the mother and baby that increases the risk of birth defects, stillbirth, and excessive bleeding during labor.
--Ectopic Pregnancy (is a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo attaches outside the uterus)— Post-abortive women have a significantly increased risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancies, which are life threatening and may result in reduced fertility.
--Endometritis (refers to inflammation of the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus) a major cause of death — Abortion can result in for endometritis, which can lead to hospitalization and infertility problems. It is a major cause of maternal death during pregnancy.

Future Pregnancy Risks
--Women who abort are twice as likely to have pre-term or post-term deliveries.
--Women who had one, two or more previous induced abortions are, respectively, 1.89, 2.66, or 2.03 times more likely to have a subsequent pre-term delivery, compared to women who carry to term. Pre-term delivery increases the risk of neonatal death and handicaps.
--Women who had one, two, or more induced abortions are, respectively, 1.89, 2.61, and 2.23 times more likely to have a post-term delivery (over 42 weeks).
--Death or disability of newborns in later pregnancies — Cervical and uterine damage may increase the risk of premature delivery, complications of labor, and abnormal development of the placenta in later pregnancies.
--These complications are the leading causes of disabilities among newborns.

Trauma after Abortion
--It is a woman’s inability to process fear, anger, sadness and guilt surrounding her abortion experience.
--It’s her inability to grieve the loss of her baby.
--It’s her inability to come to peace with GOD, herself and others involved in the abortion experience.

The Procedure is Traumatic
--Little or no crisis counseling
--No informed consent
--Protesters outside clinic
--Cold, detached clinical staff
--Invasive procedure

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post abortion individuals experiences:
44% suffer nervous disorders
36% suffer sleep disturbance
31% suffer regrets about their decision
11% suffer prescribed psychotropic medication

--Long term symptoms may need longer and more aggressive treatment.
Symptoms include:
– Hyperarousal (intense tension from hormones released during a fight or flight reaction)
– Anxiety attacks
– Outbursts of anger or rage
– Aggressive behavior
– Trouble concentrating
– Hypervigilance – always on guard
– Sleep disorders
– Anxiety during medical procedures especially pelvic exam
– Nervous reaction in hearing vacuum motors(a reminder of the abortion procedure)
– Delayed: onset of symptoms is much later and perhaps 5, 10 and 15 to 20 years after the abortion

Abortion Trauma
--Abortion trauma can occur when a woman denies the natural grief she feels, due to the loss of her unborn child
--70% of women undergoing abortion believe abortion involves the killing of a human life, which violates their own moral standard

The Key Symptoms of PTSD
--Re-experiencing the traumatic event
--Intrusive, distressing memories of the event
--Flashbacks, nightmares and exaggerated emotional and physical reactions to triggers  that remind the person of the event
--Increased arousal
--Difficulty sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger; difficulty concentrating, hypervigilant (exaggerated startle response)
--Avoidance of things related to the trauma (activities, places, thoughts, feelings and conversations)
--Emotional numbing
--Loss of interest
--Feeling detached from others
--Restricted emotions

Common Co-Existing Disorders
--Substance Abuse or Dependence
--Major Depressive Disorder
--Panic Disorder
--Generalized Anxiety Disorder
--Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
--Social Phobia
--Bipolar Disorder

Further Symptoms
--Intrusion (an act of being intruded)
--Recurrent or intrusive thoughts about abortion experience
--Recurrent thoughts about aborted child
--Flashbacks of the abortion procedure
--Nightmares about the abortion procedure or the child
--Anniversary grief reaction:  depression around the anniversary of the due date of the aborted pregnancy or the date of the abortion
--Constriction (a decrease in range of thinking of feeling)
--Numbing of emotional responses
--Withdrawal from relationships
--Avoidance of children
--Sexual dysfunction (30 – 60%)
--Drug or alcohol abuse
--Suicidal thoughts or acts
--Avoid discussion of pregnancy, abortion, etc.

Repeat Abortions
--Women who have one abortion are at increased risk of having additional abortions
--Four times more likely to abort a current pregnancy than those without abortion history
--Conscious or unconscious replacement pregnancy
--Increased sexual activity, low self-worth

Self-punishment through repeat abortions
--45% of all abortions now are repeat abortions

Where Can Someone Find Help?
--Rachel’s Vineyard
--Retreat Weekends
--Local Pregnancy Care Centers that Offer Post-Abortion Counseling

--The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma.
--Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings of aborted children, as well as persons who have been involved in the abortion industry have come to Rachel's Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing. The weekend is a lot of work but yields a fruitful harvest for all who are willing to labor there.
--The program combines psychological and spiritual exercises
--It provides a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental outlet for post-abortive men and women to explore their abortion experience
--It incorporates
–         Living Scripture
–         Facilitated exercises and group discussions that help to replace traumatic memories with ones of compassion, forgiveness and acceptance

– Jesus Christ is the Healer who comes to all