Chapter 5: Implications
Information assessing the effects of abortion on women is desperately needed now. This procedure is being performed on millions of women each year without enough knowledge of the impact it has on those who choose it as a method of contraception. The present research proposal will provide new information to contribute to the process of assessing the effects of abortion on women and how they are able to cope several years after the procedure. By becoming more informed of the possible post-abortion complications, women would be able to make a more informed decision about whether abortion is the best choice for them in their circumstances. If an illness like PAS is a prevalent risk, women have the right to know how they will be affected and what to expect (Reardon, 2000).
The two-fold measure design of this study that partners the MCMI-III with an interview process provides statistical results and enables the researcher to hear the individual stories of women. The insight gained through these individual stories could reveal the common characteristics that are found in women post-abortion and reveal the uniqueness of each woman’s experience with abortion. All of this information can provide a foundation for similar research projects in the future.
This study also works to avoid the methodological problems that have hindered the ability to generalize on other studies done regarding post-abortion symptoms. Although this study may succumb to some of those pitfalls, the strength of the design and the potential for a true longitudinal component will benefit the research teams working to evaluate the effects of abortion on women in the future.
The medical community also underestimates the prevalence of abortion as a stressor later on in a woman’s life (Boyland, 1992). In fact, some counselors fail to consider it as the cause of depression, anxiety, relational problems, and/or many other psychological illnesses. Doctors and counselors need to be more aware of abortions in a woman’s past so that when psychological symptoms or problems result in the woman seeking counseling, they address the abortion as a possible cause. As researchers continue to discover women suffering in connection with an abortion, the new knowledge gained about the different problems women deal with should begin to make counselors sensitive to this delicate issue (Erikson, 1993).
Vincent Rue (Selby & Brockmon, 1990) has already proposed diagnostic criteria for PAS. However, this has not been approved by the APA and has not been added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV) at the present time. Further studies need to be done to continue to test his hypotheses about its relationship to PTSD and the ways in which they are differentiated from one another.
Based on the findings that the proposed research will produce, further studies focusing on the affects of abortion on women need to be done. If there is evidence of post-abortion syndrome, post-abortion distress, or post-abortion psychosis, it will be necessary to test larger samples of women to begin to identify how many women are actually suffering from this illness. It will also be critical for all research following this study to be aware of and avoid methodological weaknesses by providing control groups and working to obtain a sample that accurately represents the different ages and socio-economic groups that are choosing abortion daily. Another critical issue will be providing a standardized measure that can be used to assess the affects of abortion on women and compare them to the general population. Being aware of the methodological weaknesses and studying previous research studies should enable others to design studies that produce significant data regarding a woman’s struggle in the aftermath of abortion.