Late Term Abortion And PTSD
Special Report - September 2, 2010
Women who undergo late-term abortions are more likely to exhibit specific symptoms related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as reliving the abortion procedure, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pregnancy. The study, “Late-Term Elective Abortions and Susceptibility to Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms,” compared a sample of women who reported undergoing a first trimester abortion (up to 12 weeks gestation) to women who reported undergoing an abortion in the second or third trimesters. The study notes that 12 to 14 percent of the annual 1.2 million abortions in the United States take place after the first trimester, and of those, 3.7 percent take place between 16 and 20 weeks, and 1.3 percent take place after 20 weeks. Almost 14 percent of the women in the study had undergone abortions between 13 and 30 weeks into their pregnancies, compared to 86 percent who reported first trimester abortions. More than one-quarter of the women in the study reported previous abortions.
The study found that both the late term abortion group and the first trimester abortion group reported symptoms of PTSD, which is defined in the study as an anxiety disorder “initiated by exposure to psychosocial stressor which is perceived to be traumatic.” More specifically, 52.5 percent of the women who had undergone a first trimester abortion reported general PTSD symptoms, compared to 67.4 percent of the women who had undergone late-term abortions. But the “late-term group was significantly more likely to report disturbing dreams, reliving the abortion, and trouble falling asleep,” as well as to exhibit the PTSD symptom of “Intrusion,” defined as “persistent and unwanted re-experiencing of the traumatic event in the form of recurrent and distressing memories, flashbacks, and hyper-reactivity to associated stimuli.”
Among women reporting late-term abortions, the study found “more ambivalence and conflict surrounding the decision and the likelihood of less stable partner relationships.” Compared to women who reported first trimester abortions, women who had undergone late-term abortions were more likely to report that the abortion was desired by their partner; that they had faced pressure to have the abortion from someone other than their partner; and that their partner did not know about the abortion until after it took place.
Fathers Matter in Abortion Decisions - January 1, 2009
New Study Links Abortion to Depression - August 12, 2008
Study Links Abortion to Long-Term Psychological Stress - December 19, 2005
The After-Effects of Abortion - Findings - January 2003
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