Ireland Debates “Abortion Trauma”

In a fascinating article in the Sunday Business Post over the weekend, Susan Mitchell explores how Ireland is dipping its toe in the water of the utterly debunked theory that abortion wreaks mental havoc on women in the form of an actual psychiatric disorder.

Clearly taking their lead from the United States’ anti-choice’s community’s creative and preposterous use of politically-motivated "medical" terminology, Ireland’s anti-choice advocates are essentially lobbying for a confirmation of "Post Abortion Syndrome" in order to impose restrictions on abortion.

Ireland’s Royal College of Psychiatrists is now exploring the theory that "abortion can damage a woman’s mental health" even though as recently as last year this organization representing doctors in Britain and Ireland clearly stated that any psychological risks associated with having an abortion were outweighted by those resulting from carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

However, according to the article, the College:

"…is now advising that abortions should not be performed on women until they have received counselling on the possible risk the termination poses to their mental health."

The anti-choice lobbying organizations in this country have used the disproven and medically unsubstantiated idea that women are psychologically traumatized as the result of having an abortion to push for mandatory counseling and so-called "informed consent" legislation in this country.

And now they are taking their strategy across the water.

The Irish Family Planning Association says that this theory was only developed after others failed and that "there was no definitive evidence to suggest that women suffer psychological trauma after an abortion."

This argument fuels the notion that anti-choice advocates are sticking up for women as much as they are the fetus – a notion that most aren’t buying.

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  • amanda-marcotte

    How many people believe that there’s "science" behind "post-abortion" syndrome also think the Earth is 4,000 years old?


    This strategy is supposed to make the anti-choice movement seem pro-woman, but in fact it just shows how little they think of women.  The idea is that women are basically made for breeding, and that if we choose to do something else at any point in time, we aren’t functioning properly and are broken.  A woman not-pregnant is like a car that won’t run or something. But women are people, not machines, and we can use our bodies for our own purposes.   If that means having a baby right now, sure, but without the right NOT to have a baby, the meaning of having a baby is someone drained, because it’s an obligation not a choice.  Sort of the difference between volunteering and being drafted.

  • invalid-0

    If these people were _really_ “pro-woman”, they would be exploring the very REAL trauma to women who are forced to bear unwanted children.

  • invalid-0

    there is no trauma from being forced into childbirth – it’s the “natural job” of a woman, don’t you know?

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    If you’re pregnant, you’re having a baby. It’s a bit late then to talk about “the right NOT to have a baby”…and if one talks of the “trauma to women who are forced to bear unwanted children”, then why not abortion at 40 weeks? Or perhaps even abortion when the child (still totally dependent on the mother) is 1 week old? Yeah, get the knifes out…

  • mellankelly1

    Or perhaps even abortion when the child (still totally dependent on the mother) is 1 week old?

    Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy (whether spontaneous or elective); you can’t "abort" a one week old infant.  Further, an infant is not dependent upon its mother… anyone can keep an infant alive.