• Risha Hoffman | Advocate

Psychological & Emotional Sequelae

Updated: Feb 23

Psychological Sequelae

Sequelae is defined as an aftereffect or secondary result of a disease, condition or injury. What we have found is the percentage of women who choose abortion have been sexually abused as children is very high. When this happens in formative years, it seems to be an understanding that our body does not belong to us and it is something that is used rather than a sacred place for the Holy Spirit to reside. This changes the lens we use to see the world as well.

What I now know is that statistically about 44% of women repeat the abortion choice. This has very little favor in the public eye when chosen multiple times. It is an understanding within certain social norms to choose abortion as a human right, being it is a women’s choice however, there still seems to be a stigma with the choice over once, let alone multiple times.

The risk of falling into a repeat abortion pattern should be discussed with a patient considering her first abortion. Furthermore, since women who have more than one abortion are at a significantly increased risk of suffering physical and psychological sequelae, these heightened risks should be thoroughly discussed with women seeking abortions.

Facts for The Requirement of Treatment (via website In a study of post-abortion patients only 8 weeks after their abortion, researchers found that 48% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor. A 5 year retrospective study in two Canadian provinces found significantly greater use of medical and psychiatric services among aborted women. Most significant was the finding that 25% of aborted women made visits to psychiatrists as compared to 3% of the control group. Women who have had abortions are significantly more likely than others to subsequently require admission to a psychiatric hospital. At especially high risk are teenagers, separated or divorced women, and women with a history of more than one abortion.

Since many post-aborted women use repression as a coping mechanism, there may be a long period of denial before a woman seeks psychiatric care. These repressed feelings may cause psychosomatic illnesses and psychiatric or behavioral disturbances in other areas of her life. As a result, some counselors report that unacknowledged post-abortion distress is the causative factor in many of their female patients, even though their patients have come to them seeking therapy for seemingly unrelated problems.

What is most interesting here is the fact that these findings are late 1970’s into the 1980’s yet these facts are not disclosed nor discussed. The enemy of our souls has a fine was of hiding truth.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD or PAS)

A major random study found that a minimum of 19% of post- abortion women suffer from diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Approximately half had many, but not all, symptoms of PTSD, and 20-40% showed moderate to high levels of stress and avoidance behavior relative to their abortion experiences. Because this is a major disorder which may be present in many plaintiffs, and is not readily understood outside the counseling profession, the following summary is more complete than other entries in our blog. PTSD is a psychological dysfunction which results from a traumatic experience which overwhelms a person’s normal defense mechanisms resulting in intense fear, feelings of helplessness or being trapped, or loss of control. The risk that an experience will be traumatic is increased when the traumatizing event is perceived as including threats of physical injury, sexual violation, or the witnessing of or participation in a violent death. PTSD results when the traumatic event causes the hyperarousal of “flight or fight” defense mechanisms. This hyperarousal causes these defense mechanisms to become disorganized, disconnected from present circumstances, and take on a life of their own resulting in abnormal behavior and major personality disorders. As an example of this disconnection of mental functions, some PTSD victims may experience intense emotion but without clear memory of the event; others may remember every detail but without emotion; still others may re-experience both the event and the emotions in intrusive and overwhelming flashback experiences.

Women may experience abortion as a traumatic event for several reasons. Many are forced into an unwanted abortions by husbands, boyfriends, parents, or others. If the woman has repeatedly been a victim of domineering abuse, such an unwanted abortion may be perceived as the ultimate violation in a life characterized by abuse. Other women, no matter how compelling the reasons they have for seeking an abortion, may still perceive the termination of their pregnancy as the violent killing of their own child. The fear, anxiety, pain, and guilt associated with the procedure are mixed into this perception of grotesque and violent death. Still other women, report that the pain of abortion, inflicted upon them by a masked stranger invading their body, feels identical to rape. Indeed, researchers have found that women with a history of sexual assault may experience greater distress during and after an abortion exactly because of these associations between the two experiences. When the stressor leading to PTSD is abortion, some clinicians refer to this as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS).

The reason I want to bring these facts into my testimony is that it seems that these things have been watered down for myself. Praise God for all the truth sayers and advocates out there who are lights in this darkness. The major symptoms of PTSD are generally classified under three categories: hyperarousal, intrusion, and constriction.

Hyperarousal is a characteristic of inappropriately and chronically aroused “fight or flight” defense mechanisms. The person is seemingly on permanent alert for threats of danger. Symptoms of hyperarousal include: exaggerated startle responses, anxiety attacks, irritability, outbursts of anger or rage, aggressive behavior, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilence, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or physiological reactions upon exposure to situations that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic experience (eg. elevated pulse or sweat during a pelvic exam, or upon hearing a vacuum pump sound.)

Intrusion is the re-experience of the traumatic event at unwanted and unexpected times. Symptoms of intrusion in PAS cases include: recurrent and intrusive thoughts about the abortion or aborted child, flashbacks in which the woman momentarily re-experiences an aspect of the abortion experience, nightmares about the abortion or child, or anniversary reactions of intense grief or depression on the due date of the aborted pregnancy or the anniversary date of the abortion.

Constriction is the numbing of emotional resources, or the development of behavioral patterns, so as to avoid stimuli associated with the trauma. It is avoidance behavior; an attempt to deny and avoid negative feelings or people, places, or things which aggravate the negative feelings associated with the trauma. In post-abortion trauma cases, constriction may include: an inability to recall the abortion experience or important parts of it; efforts to avoid activities or situations which may arouse recollections of the abortion; withdrawal from relationships, especially estrangement from those involved in the abortion decision; avoidance of children; efforts to avoid or deny thoughts or feelings about the abortion; restricted range of loving or tender feelings; a sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect a career, marriage, or children, or a long life.); diminished interest in previously enjoyed activities; drug or alcohol abuse; suicidal thoughts or acts; and other self-destructive tendencies.” referenced from

Suicidal Ideation and Suicidal Attempts

Approximately 60% of women who experience post-abortion sequelae (pronounced : si-kwel-ee: a pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, therapy, or other trauma) report suicidal ideation, with 28% actually attempting suicide, of which half attempted suicide two or more times. Suicide attempts appear to be especially prevalent among post-abortion teenagers and women how have chosen repeat abortions.

It doesn't have to end here. I know very well the above stated for myself and the struggle I have endured. Hear me, please! It doesn't have to end in taking your own life. The enemy wants to shut up anyone who can shed light regarding the effects of abortion to the human soul. Suicide is a definite way to keep these things quiet. Personally wanting to end my own life numerous times has only deepened my faith in God and My Savior. The enemy keeps trying to shut me up inadvertently using others as well. None of this is about me. This is about speaking the truth and speaking for you too.

Romans 5:3-4 "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope."

James 1:2-8 Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:12 "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him."

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