The Elliot Institute News
From the Leader in Post-Abortion Research
Vol. 9, No. 10 -- August 5, 2010
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A recently study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that 14 percent of women who had abortions reported having experienced physical or sexual abuse at least once in the past year. The survey of 986 women found that 10 percent reported physical abuse and 3 percent reported sexual abuse, with 74 percent of women reporting they were abused by a current partner and 24 percent reporting abuse by a previous partner (some women reported abuse by both current and former partners).
While the study only asked about the year prior to the abortion, many post- abortion counselors have found that many women who have had abortions report a history of sexual abuse, perhaps in their childhood. Most discussion about abortion and sexual abuse concerns what happens if a woman or girl becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest. The article below (excerpted from the book Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion) explores the the further connection between abortion and a history of sexual abuse that may have occurred before the pregnancy took place.
Abortion and Reenacting Sexual Abuse
An Expert's View
Theresa Burke, Ph.D., with David C. Reardon
It has been my experience that a high proportion of women suffering post-abortion trauma also have histories of molestation, sexual abuse, or incest. Most other post-abortion counselors with whom I deal have reported a similar observation.
In a survey of women in post-abortion counseling groups, 21 percent reported a history of childhood physical abuse and 24 percent reported childhood sexual abuse.1 And in a random sample survey of the general population, Dianne Russell reports that approximately one in three girls is sexually abused before age 18 and one in four is abused by age 14. These alarming statistics have a good deal to do with patterns of abuse and crisis.
Sexual abuse, at any age, can impair one’s ability to be healthy in the present. Sexual abuse is even more injurious when it is experienced during the formative years of childhood, since the distortions sexual trauma inflict can be deeper, more stunting, and more ingrained into the child’s developing personality.2 Sexual abuse survivors describe a sense of lost selves, wounded souls, and stolen psyches.
Continue reading ...
"One Week After the Abortion
My Sister Took Her Life"
One Woman's Story of Sexual Abuse and Abortion
My sister and I were both victims of incest. My sister was being sexually assaulted by my brothers for a number of years when she got her first abortion at the age of sixteen. Had she been questioned by anyone as to how a minor like herself had come to be pregnant in the first place, perhaps she could have been saved from any further abuse within the family.
This is indeed what should have happened in any agency that claims to be concerned about preventing child abuse. As it turned out, she was given the abortion without my parents’ consent or knowledge and then returned to the same environment.
Years later, after having given birth to three children, and having had many years of psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs, she became pregnant in a crisis situation. She was advised by friends and self-appointed do-gooders to abort the baby to take care of herself. This caused her a great deal of distress and anxiety. The decision was very difficult for her and in her weakened state she succumbed to the “sensibility” of their arguments and scheduled the abortion.
She was crying when she entered the clinic, she cried throughout the procedure, and was sobbing as she left. No one at the clinic asked her any questions that might upset her any more. But of course, had anyone asked her, they might have recognized that she was not emotionally strong enough to stand the abortion. Had they inquired about her health history they may have seen her as the high risk patient she was.
None of this took place. One week after the abortion she took her life with a gunshot to the chest, striking her heart. Her three children are growing up without their mom because no one wanted to ask questions. ... [A]bortion without regulation doesn’t give women a chance to make all the decisions based on the true facts and the security of knowing that as much as possible has been done to protect her against criminal-minded persons and inferior medical practices.
Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion
Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting from Sexual Assault
Free Resources to Share With Others
Psychological Risks of Abortion Fact Sheet
Hard Cases: New Facts, New Answers Fact Sheet
Fact sheets can be reprinted or copied and distributed to others.
Pregnancy and After-Abortion Help
Help During Pregnancy
Help For Those Struggling After Abortion
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