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The psychological consequences of abortion

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[English] 10/02/2017
Auteur / source : Laetitia Pouliquen

Identifying the the psychological consequences of abortion is complicated for our society, because talking about them leads the audience to think that the proposed approach calls into question the decriminalisation of abortion, an unwelcome debate in the Belgian and French democracies.

The INED  says that 40% of French women have an abortion during their life. Despite the fact that many women are affected by this act, very few of them admit to this painful experience or are able to talk about it openly: it is difficult to touch upon this suffering, the guilt, the absence of the child and the need to mourn the aborted child.

Suffering was nonetheless the main argument put forward by the French Minister of Health and Sports in 2010: "Measuring the psychological impact of abortion via a survey conducted with women who have taken this step has encountered obstacles that are difficult to overcome. It is in fact essential to avoid a method of surveying the women concerned that could jeopardize their concealment of their abortion from their family and friends. It seems, moreover, insensitive to spur women who have not expressed the desire to do so to recall an ordeal that they have put behind them, often after a painful journey that sometimes has included a decision that was hard to take.

Is the question of the psychological consequences of abortion a public health matter?

To answer this question, it is essential to understand what these sufferings consist in, to identify who is affected by the consequences of abortion and what support is available after an abortion and, finally, to debate these basic questions that concern all of society. 

 Dossier disponible en français ICI