Sex, Abortion, and Unmarried Women

By Paul Sachdev | Go to book overview
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2
The Abortion Experience

The only people who know what an abortion is like are the women who have gone through it.

22-year-old university student


PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTIONS

How does abortion affect women psychologically, and how do they subsequently adjust? These questions are as controversial and polemic as the moral acceptance of abortion. Despite the massive data on the psychological effects of abortion, studies in this area are contradictory and inconclusive. The conclusions range from the suggestion that psychological complications are almost inevitable after abortion to a finding of their virtual absence. Depending upon the seriousness of the disturbance, these studies can be organized into three sections: (1) serious psychological reactions, (2) insignificant or negligible psychological reactions, and (3) minimal psychological reactions.


Serious Psychological Reactions

Representing one end of the extreme position are the studies, mostly clinical, that claim that abortion almost always results in psychological disturbances such as guilt, depression, and self- reproach.1 These authors warn that these reactions are serious,

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1
See Anderson 1966; Aren 1958; Calderone 1958; Dunbar 1967; Deutsch 1945; Ebaugh & Heuser 1947; Hefferman & Lynch 1953; Malmfors 1966; Taussig 1936; Wilson 1952.

-35-

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