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Struggling with traumatic effects of abortion?

Women are seldom encouraged to share their responses to or feelings about an abortion.  Often it is kept a secret and a woman is left alone with her feelings. The grief women, men, or families may experience after an abortion is seldom recognized and is often repressed or denied.

Traumatic effects of an abortion commonly occur when the grieving process is not complete. Our society is just now beginning to recognize the need to grieve a miscarriage, and because abortion is considered a voluntary act, grief after an abortion is rarely understood or supported.

These post-abortion symptoms are an unhealthy emotional reaction experienced by some after abortion.  The symptoms will not necessarily appear at the same time, nor is it likely that a woman will experience the entire list. Some may occur immediately after an abortion and others much later. If you can identify with more than two of these symptoms, it could be that you are experiencing the after-effects of abortion.

Do you or know someone who struggles with any of the following Post Abortion Symptoms?


  • Half of pregnancies among American women were unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion [1]

  • Twenty-one percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) ended in abortion.[2]

  • Seventeen percent of women obtaining abortions identify as Protestant, 13% as evangelical Protestant and 24% identify as Catholic.[3]

  • In 2011, 1.7% of women aged 15–44 have an abortion [2]. Half have had at least one previous abortion.[3]

  • 59% of abortions are obtained by women who have one previous birth. [3]

  • 12% of women who have an abortion are teenagers: Those 18-19 accounted for 8% of abortions; those aged 15-17 accounted for 3%; and teenagers younger than 15 for 0.2%. [3]

  • Women in their 20s account for 60% of all abortions: Women aged 20–24 obtained 34% of all abortions, and women aged 25–29 obtained 27%.[3]

  • At 2008 abortion rates, one in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in 10 by age 45.[4]


1. Finer LB and Zolna MR. Shifts in intended and unintended pregnancies in the United States 2001–2008. American Journal of Public Health. 2014, 23(3): e1-e9.
2. Jones RK and Jerman J. Abortion incidence and service availability in the United States, 2011. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 2014. 46(1):3-14
3. Jones J, Jones RK and Onda T. Characteristics of U.S. Abortion Patients in 2014 and Changes Since 2008. New York: Guttmacher Institute, 2016.
4. Jones RK and Kavanaugh ML. Changes in abortion rates between 2000 and 2008 and lifetime incidence of abortion. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2011, 117(6):1358-1366.
5. National Right to Life Educational Foundation. Abortion Statistics United States Data & Trends.
6. Ramah International. Abortion Recovery.

What Is Post-abortion Syndrome (P.A.S.)?

P.A.S. is a traumatic stress disorder that many women experience following an abortion. This woman may have an inability …

  • to process her emotions involving the abortion
  • to go through the process of grief over the loss of her baby
  • to be at peace with God, herself, and those involved in the abortion decision
  • to accept her own God-given worth

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”

(Psalm 38:4)


The Stages of Post-abortion Syndrome

There are four stages a woman generally experiences following an abortion.

  • Relief

A welcomed sense of freedom that the difficult decision-making process is over and the painful problem has disappeared.

  • Rationalization

A mental rehearsing of logical explanations and excuses for having had the abortion.

— “I wouldn’t have been a good mother. It’s better that the baby wasn’t born.”

— “I may have been upset at the time, but I’m okay now.”

— “It’s legal; therefore, it is certainly okay.”


  • Repression

A blocking out of the details, the painful memories, and the emotions surrounding the abortion. The grieving process can be so repressed that a woman can actually “forget” she had an abortion.


  • Resentment

Hidden or repressed anger toward herself and those involved in the abortion results in depression and bitterness. If this anger is not dealt with, her relationship with God and her interaction with others is hindered.


Question: “What can be done to heal the emotional wounds of one who has had an abortion?”


Answer:  With an understanding of what has happened emotionally since the abortion, she can take certain steps to start the healing process.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

(Psalm 147:3)

Healing the Hurting Heart

God offers healing for every human heart—even after sin there is a Biblical way to be right with God, and we need to do what we can to be right with others.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

(Psalm 34:18)

What Inner and Outer Symptoms Could a Woman Experience Following an Abortion? 

Inner Conflicts

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • bitterness
  • depression
  • fear
  • grief
  • guilt
  • hopelessness
  • distrust
  • reduced motivation
  • profound regret
  • rejection 
  • paranoia
  • shame
  • trauma 
  • suppressed feelings
  • unworthiness 

Outer Evidence

  • disruption of relationships  
  • sleeping and eating disorders  
  • hostility toward self and others
  • alcohol or drug abuse  
  • sexual dysfunction
  • avoidance of abortion subject
  • anniversary reactions  
  • reliving abortion experience                   
  • increased risk of suicide
  • poor bonding with children  
  • distorted thinking, preoccupation 
  • uncontrollable crying  
  • psychosomatic illness                   
  • nightmares and flashbacks
  • detachment and withdrawal

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

(Hebrews 4:13)

God will never leave you.

No matter what.

Let’s hold on to God’s promise of joy! 


When faced with the decision of whether to have an abortion, check what God says first. If you are seeking to help people gain God’s perspective on abortion, the most beneficial thing to do is to take them to the Bible. Many have never heard or read God’s Word to find out God’s heart for the unborn. It may be that those who favor abortion are believing a lie because they have not been exposed to the truth.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)


Key Verse to Learn

Realize that the unborn are known by God in a personal way.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

(Jeremiah 1:5)


Key Passage to Read and Reread

Psalm 139:13–16





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God desires to give you hope as you face life challenges, problems and difficult trials. The good news for us, God specializes in redemption and transformation. He takes that which was lost and restores it. He takes that which was dead and gives it life. He takes that which had no hope and rewrites its story. This is our God! As you pray today, ask God boldly to transform the thing inside you that you want to see changed forever!

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