According to The American Life League, between the years of 1973-2011, 54.4 million abortions were performed. That might not seem like a big number but when compared with the population of Italy, 61 million, it doesn’t seem like such a small number anymore. Women of all ages and background have abortions. Karen is one of them.
“Karen” was a 23-year-old college graduate and landed the job of her dreams in graphic arts. Karen is attractive and has many friends so she is frequently included in the party circuit at work. She should be happy and excited. After all, her life is beginning just as she carefully planned it. But instead, she feels dead and dull inside. She keeps up with her job, but it doesn’t bring the joy she thought it would. Karen had an abortion while in college. She thought she had a serious committed relationship with her boyfriend, but when she told him she was pregnant he was definitely less than happy about it. He told her the decision was up to her, but if she wanted an abortion, he would pay for it. She sensed his lack of commitment to her and his baby and decided on abortion.”
Many women share “Karen’s” experience. Silent No More is a campaign that shares the stories of women who terminated their pregnancy and felt subsequent regret and pain. One women states “I felt that I had no say in the decision…I felt deeply crushed.” Another woman comments that “Until I found Silent No More, [the website] I didn’t know how many women were suffering long-lasting trauma from their experiences or decisions.” There are many more stories of women who have suffered because of the after effects of an abortion.
It has been found that women who have an abortion experience emotional side effects and physical side effects. The American Pregnancy Association states: “Emotional and psychological effects are more common than physical side effects and can range from mild regret to more serious complications like depression.” Some of the emotional side effects are: regret, feelings of guilt, anger, depression, and feelings of loneliness or isolation. In addition, women can experience physical side effects as well. Some only last for a couple of weeks and are only temporary such as bleeding or spotting, abdominal cramping and nausea. Other effects can be permanent such as damage to the cervix, scarring of the uterine lining and damage to other organs. In some cases, abortion can even lead to death.
Abortion does not just affect the woman but can affect her partner. Depression can come upon the man because he has lost the opportunity to become a father. Since abortions can wreak havoc on a women’s body, it is possible that if this man stays with the woman for the rest of his life that he might never have the opportunity to be a father. In addition, it can cause sexual dysfunctional problems. “The male may come to regard his sexual feelings and desires as dangerous since they can result in the conception and subsequent abortion of an unwanted child.”
Commentator Brian Fisher did a column on Father’s Day about abortion and the impact an abortion can have on a man.
A dear friend of mine recently confessed to me that he was the father of one living daughter and four deceased children. The four were aborted, three with his consent and one without. My friend said the pain of those deaths is something he copes with on a daily basis. “The guilt and pain can be overwhelming,” he said. Another friend still can’t hold back tears, even after 20 years, when he shares that he took his then-girlfriend to Planned Parenthood to erase the “mistake” they made a few months before their wedding. Now married for two decades and the parent of four other beautiful children, he recounts how his marriage was difficult and tumultuous for years until they sought counseling. The root of their conflict and strife? The abortion.
Above all, abortion affects the unborn child. Parents.com states “Your baby’s heartbeat is one of the first things your doctor will look for on an ultrasound, a test that uses sound waves to give off visual images of your baby and placenta as well as your uterus and other pelvic organs. Your baby’s heart starts beating about 22 days after she’s conceived.” According to babycenter.org, a baby’s heart beat is heard around eight weeks. A beating heart tells expecting parents that their baby is alive. Women who have abortions stop that beating heart, while women who love and desire their unborn child will mourn when that same ultra-sound reveals that that their baby’s heart has, for whatever reason, been stilled.
The questions remain: Why would women abort their unborn children, when there are other options and there are so many negative consequences for the woman herself. Why is adoption not considered when there are qualified married couples waiting in line to adopt a child? Although it would be very difficult to give up a child, it must be much harder to have to live with the guilt that comes from destroying an innocent life. It is our job as advocates for the family and for life to continue to ask those critical questions and to help people give answers that error on the side of life.
Mary Pearson is from Martinsburg, West Virginia. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Child Development from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She plans to earn a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education.
American Life League. Abortion. 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.all.org/nav/index/heading/OQ/cat/MzQ/id/NjA3OQ/
Hope after the Abortion. After the Abortion. Retrieved from: http://hopeafterabortion.com/?p=109
Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Retireved from: http://www.silentnomoreawareness.org/index.aspx
American Pregnancy Association. Abortion Emotional Side Effects. 2013. Retrieved from: http://americanpregnancy.org/unplannedpregnancy/abortionemotionaleffects.html
Impact of Abortion on Society. (2011) Retrieved from: http://www.life.org.nz/abortion/abortionkeyissues/impact-on-society-abortion/
Brian Fisher. NBC News. Abortion and Fatherhood—A Man’s Take Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/06/13/abortion-and-fatherhood-man-take/
Parents. (2013) Retrieved from: http://www.parents.com/advice/pregnancy-birth/pregnancy-stages/when-will-i-see-my-babys-heartbeat-on-an-ultrasound/