A positive pregnancy test result. Picture: Thinkstock
A positive pregnancy test result. Picture: Thinkstock

Mamamia fuels abortion guilt in ‘disgraceful’ article

WOMEN'S website Mamamia has deleted an article about post-abortion syndrome peddled by an anti-abortion group trying to stop women from terminating unwanted pregnancies.

It was a disgraceful and irresponsible piece of reporting.

I had an abortion more than two decades ago.

Having an unwanted pregnancy with someone I didn't love in another country was difficult and traumatic. A termination was an opportunity I was grateful to have.

For years I didn't talk about it - let alone admit it in print - because of the stigma attached.

Now I am older and wiser and see the abortion wasn't the problem. The abortion was the solution. The unwanted pregnancy was the problem.

Don't get me wrong: abortion is never easy. Women rarely do it without any care for the unborn child. We do it because we care so much we want to do the right thing and only have children we can properly care for.

Articles like the one in Mamamia fuel guilt in women making this decision by making out the abortion is going to be so traumatic they should carry on with a pregnancy they don't want. This is a major decision that has lifelong ramifications - for the child as well as the adults involved.

While some women genuinely feel regret or sadness or loss after having an abortion, there is no medically-accepted condition called "post-abortion syndrome". And yet the article reads: "Post abortion syndrome. The condition so many women don't want to talk about".

Women don't want to talk about it because it doesn't exist.

In the piece, a group called Abortion Grief Australia is given centre stage. There's even a link to its website containing such gems as: "Let your unborn child love you" and "accept your child's forgiveness through God's love".

No experts were cited in the article to reflect the overwhelming consensus of medical opinion against post-abortion syndrome. For example, the American Psychological Association recently ruled there was no evidence that abortion increases the risk of mental illness. However, there is plenty of evidence to show the negative health aspects of carrying on with an unwanted pregnancy.

The anonymous article in Mamamia was clocked in the one-woman confessional style which is popular with women's interest websites. Written by "Mollusc Media" it talks about a woman who once had a "pretty straight forward" abortion but the "shadow of that choice plagued her for years".

It says abortion grief is not about pro-life or pro-choice, but this is simply untrue. Conjuring up a medically-recognised syndrome to scare women off having abortions has been the provenance of anti-abortion groups for years.

The article talks about the "trivialisation of abortion trauma in medical literature". There is no trivialisation; there's just no evidence to show this is a serious issue. The real kicker is the fact that the article says "if you or someone you know requires help with this issue you can visit Abortion Grief".

This is a religious organisation aimed at stopping women from having abortions by reinforcing the trauma involved. This is not a helpful, unbiased women's help-group. Confused or upset women should certainly not turn to a mob telling them God will heal them. Will God help them care for a baby for the next 20 years?

Shame on Mamamia for such poor reporting and for being sucked in by this group.

susan.obrien@news.com.au

@susieob



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