Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Social Regression and the Global Prevalence of Abortion

Academic journal article Pre- and Peri-natal Psychology Journal

Social Regression and the Global Prevalence of Abortion

Article excerpt

ABSTRACTS: This paper advances the thesis that the high but little commented on global prevalence of abortion which amounts to 25% of the unborn being aborted world-wide, is mobilizing an almost universally denied and repressed dread of being aborted which is present to varying degrees in the unconscious of most humans, and that this dread and the defenses against facing it are transferentially acted out in the form of quiet or conspicuous individual and social regression. Evidence for social denial of this dread is seen in the underreporting of the prevalence of abortion in contrast to the strong focus on the prevalence of other forms of social regression. Although statistics are presented in this paper on the prevalence of both social regression and abortion, the import of both of these phenomena is best understood if they are looked at dynamically as intensive properties of society rather than as extensive properties measured in terms of numeric body count. The "too many people in the world" argument for abortion is examined in terms of abortion dynamics, and the relation of abortion to trust in human relations is emphasized.

INTRODUCTION

In this paper I shall advance the thesis that the current high but little commented on global prevalence of abortion, 25% of the unborn being aborted world wide, is a major etiological factor in social regression. A corollary of this thesis is that social regression in turn reciprocally fosters an increased prevalence of abortion.

The basic premise upon which this thesis rests is that there is a denied and repressed dread of being aborted that is and has been almost universally present to varying degrees in the unconscious of most humans, and that it can be mobilized and intensified under certain circumstances. I have written about the dynamics of this dread from a psychoanalytic and family system perspective in two papers entitled "The Relevance of the Dread of Being Aborted to Models of Therapy and Models of the Mind, Part I: Case Examples, and Part II: Mentation and Communication in the Unborn," (Sonne 1994a, 1994b, 1995b, 1995c). When this dread threatens to surface, various mental mechanisms of defense, such as denial, repression, rationalization, displacement, dissociation, and projection come into play to avoid facing this dread and the hostility inherent in it. The ultimate defense is to act out socially. The dread of being aborted, and the defenses used against recognition of this dread, are transferentially and transformationally acted out in the form of individual and social regression. These regressions can be expressed in the assumption by a large component of society of either quiet primitive modes of existence which can be seen as symbolic representations of a retreat to pre-natal life as a protection against the dread of being aborted, or in self destructive and socially destructive behaviors which can be seen as symbolic representations of underlying wishes to be aborted or to abort others. Primitive, narcissistic thinking prevails in each instance, and there is a developmental arrest in the movement of mankind toward an increasingly mature civilization.

Both social regression and abortion would appear to be on the increase globally. One is perhaps over-reported and the other definitely under-reported. Since social regression and abortion are both destructive phenomena, the fact that the destructiveness evident in social regression is discussed freely and the destructiveness evident in abortion is not, is highly suggestive that individual and socially shared mental mechanisms of defense are being collusively used to avoid awareness of the dread of being aborted, and that this dread and the defenses against acknowledging it are finding substitute expression elsewhere in a preoccupation with, and acting out of, self destructive and socially destructive behavior, including the abortion of others. It is implausible to think that a dread of being aborted would not be stimulated by the current worldwide prevalence of abortion, or that this would not reverberate throughout our social system, contaminating the lives of both wanted and unwanted children, abortion survivors, and adoptees, as well as coloring marital relationships, child raising practices, psychotherapy, social interaction in general, governmental policy, and international and ethnic conflict. …

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