“After an abortion, some women may exhibit a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is the result of having suffered an event so stressful and so traumatic that the person is taken beyond his or her ability to cope in a normal manner. Victims of PTSD are unable to simply resume their lives where they left off before the traumatic event. Instead, they experience a variety of reactions that do not go away merely with the passage of time.” www.inourmidst.com

After an abortion, a woman may feel initial relief since the immediate crisis is over, leading to denial that enables her to carry on with life as though nothing important has happened. This denial can last a few hours or decades. Until the denial is broken, healing never has a chance to occur, or at least not to fully occur. Many of the symptoms during this time seem to be due to other things, in the same way that other manifestations of post-traumatic stress disorder occur. Symptoms may take a long time to develop or gradually increase over time.

In other women, symptoms happen suddenly. Some women may have immediate regret and complete devastation. The woman may have gone into the abortion procedure knowing deep down that it is wrong, but she may have felt powerless to make any other choice. Often this woman will regret her decision before the procedure is even complete. She may even try to stop the procedure, only to be restrained or “comforted” by a reminder that it will all be over soon. Her guilt is overwhelming, and shame sets in to secure that the secret is kept locked away. The post-traumatic stress sets in immediately, and she is devastated.