Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing

By Rachel M. MacNair | Go to book overview
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Chapter 6

Is It Violence?: Abortion Practitioners

SCHOLARLY STUDIES

Defenders of abortion believe that it is a form of medicine. Opponents believe it to be killing. If abortion is the taking of a human life, then the psychological consequences of PITS could be expected among those who perform abortions. If we find no such aftermath, the case is strengthened that abortion is not violence at all. In this way, psychological research can add insight to the debate.

Such research is yet to be done in a way that could be considered conclusive to policymakers and citizenry. Nevertheless, a review of what is known so far is worthwhile.

Some scholars have proposed that women who undergo abortion have a variant of PTSD, which they call Post Abortion Syndrome. Controversy rages over whether this exists or not. Some studies show that it does, others show that it appears not to, and there seems to be a high correlation between the bias of the researcher and the results. Opponents of the concept of postabortion problems believe that proponents are trying to undermine the actual benefits of abortion. Proponents, on the other hand, believe that people who are making a profit or have an ideological commitment are trying to ignore the negative. Over 300 studies with varying outcomes have been done on this matter, and it is subject to intense debate.

However, remarkably little study has been done of the doctors, nurses, counselors, and other staff in abortion clinics and hospitals. Such studies exist, but they are very few and hard to find. In fact, if it is narrowed down to scientific studies done by researchers who do not work in the abortion field and which

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