Post Abortion Syndrome." Specifically, the physical and mental side effects that post abortion syndrome causes and any evidence to support a connection between those symptoms and the abortion.

A, Rankin. "Post Abortion Syndrome." Health Matrix. Volume 7.2 (1989): 45-7.

This article, published in the Health Matrix, is the personal story of a woman who experienced post abortion syndrome. The article is an excerpt from a speech that she gave at the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life convention. In the speech she addresses the symptoms she experienced which included denial, repression, guilt, anxiety, and depression. As this author found personal healing, she began researching the disorder and mapping out a recovery program. She discusses that the recovery steps are similar to those used in Alcoholics Anonymous for healing and recovery.

"Abortion Risks: A List of Major Psychological Complications Related to Abortion." After Abortion. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. .

This online article, published by the Elliot Institute presents a summery of various studies and conclusions on the psychological impact of abortion. According to this article, women who had abortions were 160% more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment then women who gave birth. Lowest reported rate of Post Abortion Syndrome is 1.5% with 14% of those cases occurring in America. Article also lists symptoms of Post Abortion Syndrome which include hyperarousal, intrusion, constriction, sexual dysfunction, suicidal thoughts or attempts, increased smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, child neglect or abuse, divorce, and repeated abortions.

Bazelon, Emily. "Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?" New York Times. 21 Jan. 2007. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. .

This news source article presents the personal account of a woman who experienced post abortion syndrome and the effects that the disorder had on her. According to this article, nearly 1/3 of women in the United States will undergo an abortion by the age of 45. According to the article, post abortion syndrome is a minority side effect and one that still does not receive much attention. In counter in the writer's viewpoint of the statistics, Rhonda Arias observed a connection between abortions and drug and alcohol abuse in women. In response and to try and help the women who have already had abortions, she travels the country educating women on the pain that comes with aborting a child and helps those suffering from post abortion syndrome to overcome the disorder and move on with their lives.

Lee, Ellie. "The Context for the Development of 'Post-Abortion Syndrome." Psychology and Reproductive Choice. Proc. Of the Psychological Sequelae of Abortion - Myths and Facts, Switzerland, Berne. The Society for the Psychology of Women, 31 May 2001. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. .

This article is my geography related paper written by a sociologist who studied the occurrence of post abortion syndrome as it related to various countries throughout the world. Ellie Lee's premise is that post abortion syndrome is only occurring in countries where abortion is considered a moral dilemma. She further argues that this condition only began emerging in the 1980's as a result of the debate. While this is an interesting argument, Lee fails to point to any actual data to support her theory. While she does review the current publications, her research seems limited and quite biased, as she was unable to site actual figures from other countries as to either how common abortions were or how common post abortion syndrome was in those countries.

Major, Brenda; Appelbaum, Mark; et al. "Abortion and Mental Health: Evaluating the Evidence." American Psychology Association. Vol 64.9 (2009): 863-890.

In this government publication conducted by the American Psychology Association, psychologists were asked to evaluate the current evidence of the existence of post abortion syndrome. This study further investigated the existence by evaluating longitudinal studies establishing time precedence of the abortion, covariation and mental health outcome variable interest, and control of the variables. The study addresses when abortions commonly occur, the reasons for abortions, and the ages and races that most commonly abort. The primary trend found in this study suggests that the more positive the person felt about the pregnancy, the less likely they were to have post traumatic stress. For instance, there were no verifiable cases of post traumatic stress found in groups of women for whom the pregnancy was wanted but required an abortion.

Major, Brenda, PhD. Et al. "Psychological Responses of Women After First-Trimester Abortion." Arch Gen Psychiatry. Volume 57.8 (2000): 777-84.

This study conducted by a host of psychologists is a broad-range two-year study that assessed women entering three different abortion clinics. Assessments were conducted 1-hour before the procedure, 1-hour after, 1 month after and 2 years after the procedure. Of this study, it was found that the majority of patients were happy with their decision to have an abortion and did not experience any subsequent side effects. However, 1% of the study participants reported diagnosis of and treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder after the abortion happened. According to the study, it was also found that a pregnancy history of depression, low self-esteem and having the abortion younger with subsequent pregnancy increased the risk of post abortion syndrome.

"Mental Health and Abortion." American Psychology Association. 2008. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. .

This government article discusses the trends that are found to be risk factors for post abortion syndrome. The article is based on longitudinal studies and was drafted at the request of the American Psychology Association. In this article, the risk factors for post abortion syndrome include perceptions of stigma, need for secrecy, and low or anticipated social support for the abortion decision, a prior history of mental health problems, personality factors such as low self-esteem and use of avoidance and denial coping strategies, and characteristics of the particular pregnancy, including the extent to which the woman wanted and felt committed to it. The study concluded that those with a prior history of mental disease are the most likely to experience post abortion syndrome.

"Pregnancy Resource Center of the San Fernando Valley." Pregnancy Resource Center of the San Fernando Valley. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. .

This website lists various symptoms of post abortion syndrome in an attempt to educate those experiencing the condition and allow them to seek out help. According to the website, the symptoms include guilt, anxiety, psychological numbing, flashbacks, nightmares, preoccupation with becoming pregnant, anxiety over childbearing issues, inability to bond, eating disorders, chemical abuse, and self punishment. The article further goes on to list the specific percentages of women who experience each symptom after an abortion. The top symptom experienced after an abortion is depression, which is according to this article, experienced by 98% of women.

Rearden, David C. "Abortion and Subsequent Substance Abuse." The Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Vol 26.1 (2000): 61-75.

This study further analyses the connection between drug abuse and past abortions. This study is a nonparametric self-assessment of past substance abuse distributed to a random sample of American women. It found that substance abuse following a first pregnancy was significantly higher where the pregnancy was terminated, especially when the mother was an adolescent. According to the study, women who had an abortion were four times more likely to abuse drugs that those who experienced a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or still birth.

Rosen, Gerald; Spitzer, Robert; McHugh, Paul. "Problems with the post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis and its future in DSM-V." British Journal of Psychology. Volume 192 (2008): 3-4.

This study does not directly address post abortion syndrome, but rather the recent psychological developments in the field of post traumatic stress research. According to this study, post traumatic stress syndrome is being applied to a large range of stressful events as the same symptoms continually appear. One such instance where it is becoming a very common diagnosis is in the cases of post abortion syndrome.

Speckhard, Anne; Rue, Vincent. "Complicated mourning: Dynamics of impacted post abortion grief." Journal of Prenatal Psychology Health. Volume 8.1 (1993): 32

This article discuses the current practice of psychologists to treat post abortion syndrome. According to the article, post abortion grief is difficult to diagnose due to society stigma with the disorder and once diagnosed follows a standard post traumatic treatment pattern. The patient must first recognize the traumatic loss and then go through the necessary grief and guilt to extricate the relationship with the fetus. Post abortion syndrome has also been found with children, men, extended family, and healthcare providers.

Speckhard, Anne; Rue, Vincent. "Postabortion Syndrome: An Emerging Public Health Concern." Journal of Social Issues. Volume 48.3 (2010): 95-119.

This article once again summarizes the most current findings regarding post abortion syndrome. According to the article, even as late as 2010 there are questions as to the validity of the diagnosis regardless of the evidence to support such diagnosis. Authors clearly present the statistical data and argue that the denial is primarily socially not medically based.

Peer Reviewed Item

Major, Brenda; Appelbaum, Mark; et al. "Abortion and Mental Health: Evaluating the Evidence." American Psychology Association. Vol 64.9 (2009): 863-890. Google Scholar…