Doesn't everyone grieve in the abortion choice?

J. A. Rosenfeld, T. Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Brown, Elkins, and Larson's article on prolonged grieving after induced abortion properly alerts physicians to the need for vigilance to emotional difficulties following this procedure. However, the authors appear to have an implicit political agenda in publishing their material, and the absence of scientific method in the presentation of this material is reckless given the political volatility surrounding the abortion issue. The article is based on an analysis of 61 letters solicited by the pastor of a Protestant church in Florida known for its anti-abortion activities; only negative experiences were sought. Cited are long-term negative sequelae such as anger, loss, depression, masking of emotion, regret, shame, guilt, fantasizing, and suicidal ideation. It is impossible for the authors to make psychiatric diagnoses on the basis of letters alone. More importantly, these same reactions can be found, to an even greater extent, among women suffering forced continuation of an unwanted pregnancy and subsequent nonvoluntary parenthood. Feelings of guilt and loss can be expected both among women who choose to abort and those who opt to continue with an unplanned pregnancy. The very fact that abortion is legal in the US allows physicians to help those women who do experience emotional difficulties after the procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-177
Number of pages3
JournalThe Journal of clinical ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

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