an After abortion

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Friday, January 9, 2004

Today's an anniversary; the tenth anniversary of The Lorena Bobbitt Incident.

It's also the 13th anniversary of the abortion John Bobbitt insisted Lorena obtain. The Elliot Institute thinks there is a connection:

"According to Dr. David Reardon, 'All the evidence presented at Lorena's trial supports the view that her psychiatric symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were precipitated by a coerced abortion three days before their first wedding anniversary. Lorena pleaded to keep her child and gave in to the abortion only because she was pressured into it by John. Like other women before her, Lorena experienced the unwanted abortion as an attack on both her maternity and her sexuality. That is the key to understanding her subsequent attack on John.'

     'The timing of the cutting incident was not coincidental," says Reardon. 'Between 30 and 40 percent of women who report post-abortion problems experience more intense symptoms around the anniversary date of the abortion. For these women, the anniversary is a connector back to unresolved grief, which can exhibit itself in the guise of psychosomatic illnesses, increased depression, and uncontrollable fits of rage, all of which Lorena experienced.'

     Lorena's abortion was on June 15, 1990. On June 18, 1993, she went to her doctor complaining of hyperventilation, cramping, and anxiety attacks. 'These psychosomatic symptoms are all typical of a post-abortion anniversary reaction,' said Reardon. 'The cutting incident occurred five days later, only minutes after she experienced flashbacks to the abortion, another common post-abortion reaction.'

     Reardon assisted Lorena Bobbitt's defense team in identifying the anniversary reaction which occurred at the time of the attack. He also helped Lorena's defense attorneys to procure the aid of a post-abortion therapist prior to the trial.

     'While I did not have access to any privileged communications in the preparation of this report,' Reardon said, 'all of the facts supporting this analysis can be found in the court transcripts, which include expert witness testimonies. When you combine these facts with known patterns of post-abortion reactions, it is clear that Lorena's abortion trauma profoundly magnified the couple's problems and influenced everything she did on the night of the attack.'

     According to research cited in Reardon's analysis of the Bobbitt case, nearly 60% of women who experience post-abortion problems report that after their abortions, they lost their tempers more easily and became more violent when angry. If both the woman and her partner were involved in the abortion, mutual feelings of guilt and antagonism may magnify hostilities even more. 'This problem,' Reardon says, 'can make the resolution of spousal abuse very difficult. Women may refuse to leave violent relationships because intense feelings of guilt and lowered self-esteem may make them more prone to self-destructive behavior. They may continue to expose themselves to the risk of violence because they feel they deserve to be punished.'

     Reardon adds that abortion is implicated in the cutting incident not only by the timing of the attack, but also by the manner in which she attacked John. 'Lorena felt as though her abortion had left her sexually mutilated, and she blamed John for making her have it. That she chose to attack John's sexuality, not his life, indicates that Lorena was subconsciously choosing to retaliate in kind -- 'an eye for an eye,' so to speak.'"


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