Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

Psychological and Emotional Complications

Each woman having an abortion may experience different emotions before and after the procedure, sometimes years later. Women often have both positive and negative feelings after having an abortion. These feelings may include emptiness and guilt as well as sadness. A woman may question whether she made the right decision. Some women may feel relief about their decision and that the procedure is over. Other women may feel anger at having to make the choice. Women who experience sadness, guilt or difficulty after the procedure may be those women who were forced into the decision by a partner or family member, or who have had serious psychiatric counseling before the procedure or who were uncertain of their decision.

Counseling or support before and after abortion is very important. The feelings that appear after an abortion may be harder to adjust  to if family help and support is not available to the woman. Talking with a professional and objective counselor before having an abortion can help a woman better understand her decision and the feelings she may experience after the procedure. If counseling is available to the woman, these feelings may be easier to handle.

Some medical groups do not recognize post abortion syndrome as a clinical diagnosis, however, some studies suggest post abortion syndrome is a type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Remember, it is your right and the doctor's responsibility to fully inform you prior to the procedure. Be encouraged to ask all of your questions.

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