Does Abortion Have Severe Psychological Effects?

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Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy by destruction of a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus before birth, prior to the time when the fetus attains viability, or capacity for life outside the uterus (Encyclopedia, 1995, p.43). Currently almost twenty-five percent of pregnancies in the United States are aborted. About one forth of people who abort are teenagers, fifty-seven percent are younger than 25, and almost eighty percent are unmarried. During the first trimester is when most of the abortions take place. Only about ten percent are performed later in the pregnancy (Slife, 1998, p.329). Abortions go back as far as Ancient Greece where it was used as a type of population control. Then in the Roman Times men had total control over the procedure. "Man could give law-enforced command that his wife have an abortion, or he could punish or divorce his wife for having one without his consent" (Encyclopedia, 1995, p.43).

Today many people ask the question, does abortion have severe psychological effects? People that are pro-life claim that most women who abort their unborn child suffer from many negative effects, such as guilty feelings, anxiety, depression, loss, anger and even suicide. In one case a woman had an abortion assuming that it would take away all of the stress of being pregnant and thinking about the consequences of having a child. Afterwards she said, "I was unprepared for the maze of emotions that hit me after I had the procedure. Instead of feeling relieved, I was awash in anxiety and confusion" (Lawlor, 2002, par.3). The disorder of having negative effects after an abortion is called Post Abortion Syndrome or PAS. In order to tell if a woman has PAS she has to be completely honest with herself and admit the feelings that she has. The symptoms that most women have are strong feelings of guilt and confusion. Some cases are much more extreme, for example, there was a seventeen year old who developed lethargy, malaise, and vomiting....
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