trauma of abortion

Laura Limmex

By Laura Limmex

I was 16 years old when I found myself facing a crisis pregnancy.  I visited a pregnancy center to confirm the pregnancy and with them made the decision to have an abortion.  I was scheduled for 2 weeks later.  I was 12 weeks pregnant and nobody knew except me, my boyfriend and the clinic.

I never visited with a medical professional about what the abortion would entail.   The only words the abortionist ever said to me were, “tell me when you feel a pinch”.  It was never explained to me that there would be pain involved.  I began to panic, but they finished the procedure.  Two weeks later I returned to the local clinic where they told me that part of the fetus hadn’t been removed and I would need to return for a repeat procedure. 

I was overcome with fear

A few days later I passed the remains of my child in a bathroom toilet. 

We learned in recent years there is a room in these abortion facilities where they sort through the abortion remains to see if everything was there. However, this day they sent a 16 year old girl away knowing it was an botched procedure and not informing her of the possible risks.

A traumatic experience

For a 16 year old girl, this was a terrifying experience; a traumatic experience.  I had no adult professional telling me what was going on or if I was going to be ok.  Over the next 20 years I would avoid the memories of my abortion.  The thoughts of what took place in those weeks seemed unbearable to think about. I found myself in unhealthy relationships. I didn’t feel I deserved to be happy. Seeing a child approximately the age mine would have been stirred up deep pains within me. As quickly as the painful memories of that dreadful day would come to me, I would suppress them. I experienced guilt, shame, anger (actually rage), difficulty having healthy relationships and a divorce.

Misled by abortionists

When I had children, I learned the truth of fetal development and the stage of development my child was at when I aborted.  My trust in those Medical professionals who assisted me was dashed.  I had trusted them and they had misled me by not fully disclosing basic medical facts about fetal development as well as post-abortion potential complications.

I believe beyond a doubt that abortion is a traumatic experience.  Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.  We can go on to say that it is trauma when one believes there is the threat to themselves, or another, of death or of physical injury.  It’s important when we describe something as traumatic to remember it’s not the objective facts that determines whether an event is traumatic, but the individual’s subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized.

Psychological repercussions

No matter a person’s philosophical, religious, or political views on abortion, the fact of the matter is, the actual experience can affect women not only on a personal level but can potentially have psychological repercussions.  Women’s reasons for having an abortion are usually highly personal and strike the core of who women are.  We were created to love, nurture and protect our children.

Recently, CBS news, of all places, did a story entitled: “Abortion tied to sharp decline in women’s mental health”: 

A provocative new study shows that women who have an abortion face an increased risk for mental health problems including substance abuse, anxiety, and depression.

“Results indicate quite consistently that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems subsequent to the procedure,” the authors wrote in the study, published in the September 1 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

For the study, researchers analyzed data on 877,000 women, including 164,000 who had an abortion. They found women who had an abortion experienced an 81 percent increased risk for mental problems.

The article went on to reveal the aftershocks of the trauma of abortion:

Women who had an abortion were 34 percent more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, 37 percent more likely to experience depression, 110 percent more likely to abuse alcohol, 155 percent more likely to commit suicide, and 220 percent more likely to use marijuana.

If only I knew the truth back then

I can look back on my life and see where anger, anxiety, fear, lack of trust, shame and guilt as a result of the abortion has damaged relationships in my life.  I only wish I would have been told that day exactly what would be happening.  And what I mean by that is to know exactly the steps of the procedure, where I was in fetal development, and what I would feel like afterwards (physically, spiritually and emotionally). 

Why aren’t abortionists required to explain the risks?

I’ve had medical procedures since the abortion and they always explain to me what will be happening, and what the possible side effects are.  With RX drugs they are required to tell you the possible side effects.  We see RX commercials on TV and they list all the side effects.  Sometimes I think the sickness might be better than all the side effects.  Women have the right to know that by choosing an abortion they might never be able to have children.  Things can and do go wrong during an abortion.  All medical procedures have risks, why would we dare think an abortion is any different.

Abortion is NOT a medical ‘procedure’

Although abortion is often called a medical procedure, I personally don’t like to refer to it as such.  A medical procedure is to give aid and help the normal processes and functions of the body.  An abortion stops the normal processes and functions of the body.  At conception a woman’s body begins to change chemically, physically and emotionally.  When those natural changes are ended unnaturally, there is risk involved. 

Finally, it was in a recovery program that I was free to express my thoughts, fears and begin to grieve deeply the child I would never hold this side of heaven due to my “freedom to choose”. I grieved that I didn’t get to hold her little hand or hear her sing her ABC’s and later see her graduate from High School, marry and live a beautiful LIFE.   But, we have a Hope!  God is Faithful!

I lost a part of me

I suffered a great loss the day of my abortion.  I lost not only my child, but I lost part of me.   I’ve had to take a hard look at these losses and I have grieved them deeply.  Nobody told me how much abortion was going to really cost me.

My voice is just one of many, and the voices of those touched by abortion are extremely vital in the battle. But your voices are vital too. We MUST pray and speak to our government representatives. We all have our place in the battle to save the lives of the most innocent among us.

[Laura Limmex is Executive Director of RESTORED BY GRACE MINISTRIES, an abortion recovery ministry bringing hope, healing and restoration to men, women and families from the lies and pain of an abortion and other events in life. Thanks to Laura for permission to share her testimony on the trauma of abortion. She publicly presented her story at Thursday’s Pro-Life Prayer Rally at the Capital.]

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