Woman sues over voluntary abortion


Peace, Love and Unity
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Sorry - this is a couple of months old - but it makes for interesting reading:


Woman sues health service for guilt and self-hatred after abortion

A new battle over abortion has opened in Britain, with a woman suing the National Health Service for the psychological trauma she says she suffered after termination of her pregnancy.

The woman, who has not been named, had an abortion four years ago. Although she said she regretted it immediately, the full impact hit her only after the birth of a son, when she says she began to experience feelings of guilt and self-hatred and was on the brink of a nervous breakdown.

She says staff should have warned her of potential psychological consequences of the abortion. "It was very frightening. It just felt what I was doing was wrong," she told the BBC. "I felt as soon it was done, I knew, `What a mistake'.

"I was denying it for about three years. I was trying to put it to the back of my mind as much as possible." Then she had a child. "The feelings all flooded back three years later, after I'd had my son," she said.
She says she was seen by a family doctor and by a surgeon and was warned of possible physical side-effects, but not psychological consequences.

Britain's Royal College of Gynaecologists, which set down guidelines for medical staff in 2000, and organisations such as the Family Planning Association (FPA), said there were rarely serious psychological consequences from abortion.

"That is not to say to women that you don't have strong feelings afterwards," Toni Belfield of the FPA said. "You may feel relieved, have mixed feelings or feel sad. They are natural reactions to a situation you did not want to be in."

About one in five pregnancies end in termination, she said, and yet it was still a big secret. Women should be helped to make a decision and live with it free from guilt.

A study by the Royal College of General Practitioners of 13,000 women with unplanned pregnancies found there were few long-term psychological problems - even on anniversaries.

The woman who plans to sue is thought to be at the earliest stage of legal proceedings, and may face an assessment of her pre-existing psychological state.
I have to say that this sounds like another case of an individual not wanting to take responsibility for their own choices and trying to foist the responsibility off onto others.

I can't imagine her case will get very far.

That said, she probably has a point that women planning an abortion should be told that guilt might be a possible side-effect and if they have doubt they might feel that way, they should think twice before going through with it.

That, in an of itself should contibute to a process of affirmation of the decision which should decrease the number of women suffering from this kind of guilt later on. It's just good practice.