Possible Consequences of Abortion

Why many consequences of abortion are still taboo for psychiatry.
A woman’s personal situation has an influence on what kind of consequences will appear after an abortion.

Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)

Syndrome always refers to a whole group of typical symptoms which can be specifically assigned to a certain trauma or injury. By listing the possible consequences of an abortion (PAS) here, we are not suggesting that that all women suffer all these symptoms after an abortion. However, this is about significant observations that specialists have made in numerous women who have had an abortion.

Taboo in Psychiatry?

Post-abortion syndrome (PAS) as such is still absent from the official psychiatric diagnosis codices. Even AIDS or Creutzfeld-Jakob disease were once diseases that existed before they were fully recognised by science. It is problematic when science contributes to building taboos. Women should be able to express their grief and experience it without having the feeling that this contradicts political expediency.

Today the professionals involved and society at large react increasingly more sensitively to the needs of women and their partners after miscarriages. Time and opportunities are provided to mourn these children. Recently even dignified burials have been made possible. Why then should women not be allowed to mourn their aborted children as well? Why should they bend to social pressure and not simply be allowed to talk about it?

List of possible PAS symptoms

The intervention in the female body’s natural processes that happens in an abortion can in no way be minimised. Depending on the woman’s personal situation, substantial purely organic consequences and psychosomatic as well as psychological phenomena can occur.

I. Possible physical (somatic) consequences

(not counted as part of actual PAS however)

1. Early complications of an abortion

  • Injury to the uterus
  • Bleeding
  • Infections

2. Later complications after an abortion

  • Adhesion in the abdomen
  • Disruptions in menstruation
  • Infertility with no organic cause


Problems with later pregnancies, for example a higher risk of miscarriages and premature births; increased perinatal mortality (during and after the birth); increased risk of tubal or abdominal pregnancies

II. Psychosomatic consequences of an abortion

  • Functional abdominal troubles (i.e. with no direct organic cause)
  • Functional sexual disorders (libido disorders, orgasm disorders), pain during intercourse (dyspareunia, frigidity)
  • Migraine
  • Sleep disturbances, nightmares

III. Psychological consequences of an abortion

  • Unfounded and uncontrolled crying
  • Anxiety
  • Severe mood swings and instability
  • Signs of nervous tension, like sweats, trembling, flushing, paleness and general nervousness
  • Restlessness and tension, possibly even hyperactivity
  • Concentration and memory disorders
  • Depression
  • Feelings of shame, repentence and remorse
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feeling of loneliness and inner emptiness
  • Death of feelings (“Robot feeling”)
  • Feeling of lonesomeness, exclusion and isolation
  • Feeling of emotional indifference
  • Feeling of being condemned or dirty in terms of a relationship with a higher power or with people
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Self-aggression (nail biting, teeth grinding, scratching)
  • Medicine, drug and alcohol abuse
  • Strong reaction to noises that bring the suction curettage to mind (like vacuum cleaner noise)
  • Compulsive re-experiencing of the abortion in the mind
  • Multiple abortions (compulsive repetition)
  • Strong emotional reactions at the sight of a pregnant woman or a baby
  • Stronger resistance during gynaecological examinations
  • Fear of “punishment” through serious disease or accidents of one’s other children (Niobe syndrome)
  • Relationship problems
  • Feelings of hate and disgust in relation to sexuality
  • Rage and hate for the child’s father, the abortion doctor or men generally
  • Feeling of helplessness towards the subsequent children; increased risk for mistreatment
  • Feeling of loss of parental authority over the other children

IV. Tendencies to compensate after an abortion

  • Commitment in the fight against abortion and/or activity in other life-protecting organizations (e.g. environmental protection organisations, child protection organisations etc.)
  • Social commitment, e.g. taking on a foster child or adopting
  • (Quick) new pregnancy: the new child as a «replacement» for one that was lost
  • Over-anxiousness; overprotection of subsequent children
  • Processing of the abortion through diary recordings, writing of poems, books, letters

 (This is not an exhaustive list.)