an After abortion

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Wednesday, December 1, 2004

I just ran across this study about the postabortion experience from the May-June 2004 American Journal of Maternal and Child Nursing.

The abstract says:

Women who had induced abortions represented several ethnic groups, religions, and occupations, and were single, married, or divorced.The average number of years from abortion to interview was 18.9 (range 6-31 years). The age range at first abortion was 14 to 43, and at interview was 23 to 60 years of age.

Five themes emerged within the women's stories: Making the Decision, Coping With the Memories, Gaining Perspective, Seeking Help, and Recognizing Its Worth.

Most women who participated in this study were able to integrate the abortion experience into their lives, and had found meaning in the abortion experience.
One must assume this means that some of the women interviewed did not "find meaning" in the abortion experience.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This study provides yet more reasons why nursing should encourage women to prevent unplanned pregnancies through fertility control.
Again, although this wording is rather opaque, I gather that the postabortion experiences studied here were sufficiently negative to suggest to the researchers that what one would really want to do is avoid unplanned pregnancy rather than abort.

Women in this study described many life-changing experiences, both positive and negative, because of an abortion.Therefore, preabortion counseling should be sensitive and include information about possible long-term effects.

Postabortion support should acknowledge spiritual issues, and include steps women can take to help heal themselves, such as grief counseling and mourning rituals when appropriate.
It seems out-of-place to refer to grief counseling, mourning rituals and acknowledging spiritual issues as things women do to "heal themselves". Isn't there either a social context or a "someone outside of and maybe greater than me" element involved in mourning rituals and spiritual considerations? Isn't that different than self-healing?

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