THE TRAUMA OF ABORTION
Is abortion a trauma? Research says NO.
What is traumatic about abortion may well surprise you.
ABORTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1996 (Act No. 92 of
1996) is the law governing abortion in South Africa. It allows abortion on
demand up to the twelfth week of pregnancy, under broadly specified
circumstances from the thirteenth to the twentieth week, and only for
serious medical reasons after the twentieth week.
It is described as one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world.
One has to wonder why in the world we then have such a high rate of
back street abortions? Backstreet abortions outweigh legal abortions by
Let’s hear the voices of women who are fighting against the heavy
abortion stigma that still exists. The stigma that encourages women daily to
put their lives at risk by going to backstreet abortion ‘dealers”.
And let’s share the trauma that entails accessing a safe abortion in this
country, And this is further exacerbated by Coronavirus.
ABORTION & PTSD: DEBUNKING THE MYTH
The range of normal psychological and emotional responses post-abortion
can include feelings of grief, regret, sadness, and relief. These reactions
are generally transient.
It’s important to differentiate between such normal emotional responses
and ongoing, serious mental health issues such as PTSD. There is
no evidence to suggest induced abortion has any significant impact on
persistent and serious mental health issues.
No evidence that abortion causes PTSD in settings where abortion is safe,
In other words backstreet abortions, abortions that feel psychologically
and physically unsafe, place women at risk to develop PTSD.
FACTS ABOUT ABORTION & PTSD
Women pointed to a range of traumatic life experiences as the source of
Studies have suggested that exposure to sexual and physical assaultive
the violence poses the greatest risk of experiencing future PTSD.
One in five women reported a history of sexual assault or rape.
Childhood and adult experiences of sexual and physical violence and
abuse were most often the sources of women’s symptoms and accounted
for nearly one-third of PTSS.
These findings are consistent with several other studies that have also
shown that exposure to sexual and physical violence is strongly
associated with PTSS and PTSD following an abortion.
Circumstances around the time of the index pregnancy were the
source of distress, rather than the abortion procedure itself
ABORTION PROCEDURES & PTSD
The abortion procedure has changed significantly.
Today’s safe and effective abortion is known as the “medical abortion “.
Abortion pill” is the common name for using two different medicines to
end a pregnancy: mifepristone and misoprostol. You take the first pill and
48 hours later, the second pill. You can do it in the comfort of your own
home, under the guidance of a qualified health care provider.
COVID-19 AND ABORTION
Coronavirus put millions of women at risk of sexual violence, lack of
access to contraception, and unintended pregnancy. This increases the
need for access to safe abortion care. However clinics are closed or working
at reduced capacity, public health systems are focusing on their COVID-
19 responses, and many governments not recognizing abortion as an
essential health service. Fear of contracting COVID-19, coupled
with government lockdown measures restricting movement, are also
keeping women at home, preventing them from accessing essential SRH
services, including abortion.
The increase in demand, a decrease in supply, and restrictions on movement
around the world are creating an environment in which we can expect to
see a rise in unsafe abortion. And consequently a rise in PTSD in women
seeking their right to reproductive justice.
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