The Elliot Institute News
From the Leader in Post-Abortion Research
Vol. 8, No. 6 -- April 16, 2009
Visit Us Online: www.AfterAbortion.org
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IN THIS ISSUE:
New Study Shows Negative Impact of Abortion on Relationships for Women, Men
One of the First to Look at Abortion's Impact on Men's Relationships and on Future Relationships
A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Public Health has found that abortion can impact relationships for both women and men.
The study, headed by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, is one of the first to examine the impact of abortion on men's relationships, as previous studies have mostly looked at abortion's impact on women. It is also the first study that looked at how having an abortion with a previous partner can impact subsequent relationships.
"No studies to date have compared the relative psychological or relational impact of a history of one or more abortions prior to the current relationship with an abortion occurring in the context of the current partnership," the authors wrote, noting that previous studies have found that some women may "carry the pain of a difficult abortion experience for years."
"If negative emotions associated with an abortion are not acknowledged or resolved, dysfunctional coping can carry over into relationships," causing additional problems, they added.
The study data was drawn from the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey, which is designed to study sexual behavior among adults in the U.S. Respondents were from the Chicago area and included an ethnically and socially diverse group of women and men. It included both married and unmarried respondents who had been involved in an abortion either in their current relationship or with a previous partner.
For both women and men, abortion was associated with problems in the current relationship, whether the abortion had taken place with one's current partner or a previous partner. Compared to those who had no history of abortion, those who underwent an abortion with a current partner were more likely to report domestic violence and to feel that their lives would be better if the relationship ended. Having an abortion with a previous partner was more likely to lead to arguments about children in the current relationship for both men and women.
On the other hand, the study also found differences in women's and men's responses to abortion.
Compared to those with no history of abortion, women who had an abortion with their current partner reported that the couple was more likely to argue about: money (75 percent more likely), children (116 percent more likely), the woman's relatives (80 percent more likely) or her partner's relatives (99 percent more likely), while men were 96 percent more likely to report arguing about jealousy, 195 percent more likely to argue about children and 385 percent more likely to argue about drugs.
Women having an abortion in a current or previous relationship were more likely to suffer from various forms of sexual dysfunction afterwards, while men tended to have difficulty with jealousy or conflicts over drug use. Previous studies have shown that women tend to feel anxious or disinterested in sex after pregnancy loss and the authors speculated that the same factors could apply after abortion.
The authors also suggested that men's problems with jealousy and drug use after an abortion may also be related to differences in coping with bereavement. Studies of other forms of pregnancy loss have found that men's grief tends to be less easily resolved, possibly due to the fact that they often receive little support, thereby leading men to feel less secure and to “self-medicate” by turning to drugs.
The authors noted that the inclusion of men in the data collection was one of the study's strengths, but called for more long-term studies to compare problems in relationships both before and after abortion. They pointed out that discovering how abortion effects relationships and helping women and men resolve those problems before entering into a new relationship is an important goal for those who work with couples.
“By recognizing the valence of unresolved pain associated with a past abortion, pastoral, mental health, and marriage and family therapists will be better able to help couples to prevent problems from overwhelming their intimate partnerships,” the authors wrote.
P.K. Coleman, V.M. Rue, C.T. Coyle, "Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey," Public Health (2009), doi:10,1016/j.puhe.2009.01.005.
Find more information on studies examining the impact of abortion by downloading our Recent Research fact sheet.
For information on men and abortion, including articles and links to web sites, support and resources for men, visit www.theunchoice.com/men.htm.
New Chinese Human Rights Document Doesn't Address Issue of Forced Abortions—Forced and Coerced Abortion Not Just an Overseas Problem
A new human rights document issued by the Chinese government has angered critics who say it makes no mention of forced or coerced abortion, one the countrys biggest human rights abuses.—including one conducted by then Secretary of State Colin Powell—found that forced abortions and sterilizations were being carried out in areas where UNFPA had "family planning" programs and that the group shared an office with officials who were forcing women into the procedures.
LifeNews.com has reported that the document, which was issued in response to a United Nations mandate, has been greeted with mixed responses from human rights groups who say that it whitewashes over many abuses but could bring about some important improvements if it is actually implemented.
The document lays out a government plan to “curb forced confessions, torture and the mistreatment of prisoners,” as well as lowering the use of the death penalty. But it does not mention the government's “one-child policy,” which has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations on those who have children without government permission and has used forced detention, crippling economic pressure, destruction of property, threats of job loss, imprisonment and other abuses to force compliance with the policy.
Unfortunately, earlier this year President Obama restored U.S. taxpayer funding to the United Nations Population Fund, which has been linked to China's one-child policy. The Bush administration ceased funding UNFPA after two investigations
While the decision to fund a group allegedly connected to forced abortion overseas has brought outcries from pro-life groups and other human rights advocates, forced and coerced abortions are also a real problem within the U.S. as well. Studies have found that homicide is the number one killer of pregnant women in the U.S., while news reports of individual cases have found that many women are assaulted or killed for refusing to have abortions.
For more information, download our special report, Forced Abortion in America and visit our web site at www.TheUnchoice.com.
For information on legislation to combat this problem in the U.S., visit www.theunchoice.com/preventable.htm.
One Woman Shares Her Personal Story
I was living in Texas, with my mom, dad, and four brothers. My parents divorced when I was 13. My mother was sick most of my childhood life, in and out of hospitals and mental institutions.
Then in the eighth grade I met someone who was 19 years old (I was only 14 years old.) I think I leaned on him for support because my dad had moved to another state for job reasons and my mom was sick. In some ways I was a little mother for my four brothers.
My boyfriend abused me by slapping me and controlling everything I did. I was just a child. I didn't realize then how serious my situation was. We started having sex and I got pregnant.
My mother decided I should have an abortion and my boyfriend gave me the money to go. My oldest brother took me to Dallas to have the abortion. I was only four weeks pregnant.
When I walked into the abortion clinic, I remember seeing so many young, scared faces just like mine. …. I remember waking up in a room all alone and scared. I went home and little did I know that my trouble and pain were just beginning.
I was still being abused by my boyfriend and then my mother was sick. I had to live with an aunt I did not know.
My two younger brothers lived with different aunts and I and my older brothers stayed in Texas. I had lost my family and until then hadn't realized how my abortion affected me.
Time went by and I met new friends but I was still a very hurt and confused teenager. I was watching TV one evening and a show came on about conceiving a baby and how it grows inside the mothers womb. Then it talked about abortion.
For the first time in my life I realized what I had done. I started crying and screaming. I ran into my bedroom and hit the walls with my fists. I was sobbing, “God, why?” I cried for hours.
I am 33 years old now and still there are days when I cry. Every day of my life I have pain inside of me.
I think it should be a law for women, especially teenagers, to see a film on abortion before they decide to have one. I know it would have saved my baby's life.
I don't blame my mother because she still saw me as a child … I carry the responsibility and the pain.
For more personal stories of abortion, including coerced, forced and unwanted abortions, visit www.TheUnchoice.com.
More personal stories and a reflection on the personal and social obstacles women often face before, during and after abortion, can be found in the book Giving Sorrow Words: Women's Stories of Grief After Abortion, by Melinda Tankard Reist.
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Visit TheUnChoice.com for information and user-friendly resources to help raise awareness about widespread unwanted abortions and related injustices and harm.
Visit AbortionRisks.org, a collaborative information portal where researchers, healing ministries and others can contribute news, information and insights. Includes the Thomas W. Strahan Memorial Library, the world's most comprehensive library on post-abortion research.
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