Post-abortion syndrome: Creating an affliction

Bioethics 24 (9):445-452 (2010)
The contention that abortion harms women constitutes a new strategy employed by the pro-life movement to supplement arguments about fetal rights. David C. Reardon is a prominent promoter of this strategy. Post-abortion syndrome purports to establish that abortion psychologically harms women and, indeed, can harm persons associated with women who have abortions. Thus, harms that abortion is alleged to produce are multiplied. Claims of repression are employed to complicate efforts to disprove the existence of psychological harm and causal antecedents of trauma are only selectively investigated. We argue that there is no such thing as post-abortion syndrome and that the psychological harms Reardon and others claim abortion inflicts on women can usually be ascribed to different causes. We question the evidence accumulated by Reardon and his analysis of data accumulated by others. Most importantly, we question whether the conclusions Reardon has drawn follow from the evidence he cites
Keywords pro‐life  abortion  post‐abortion syndrome  harm principle
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01739.x
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