British Woman’s Suicide Part of Dangerous Trend of Unwanted Abortions
Post-Abortion Trauma Abortion Linked to Increase in Mental Health Disorders
Springfield, IL (March 3, 2008) — The recent suicide of a British woman who had undergone an abortion points to the urgent need to raise awareness of the problem of unwanted abortions and post-abortion trauma.
The London Daily Mail reported that an inquest was held on the death of Emma Beck, a 30-year-old artist who underwent an abortion in September 2006. Her mother told the court that her daughter, who had been pregnant with twins, had not wanted to abort but that Beck’s boyfriend had not wanted the pregnancy. Beck’s doctor said that she had been “extremely vulnerable” prior to the abortion and had missed or cancelled two appointments for the abortion.
However, the hospital where the abortion was performed said that Beck had received adequate counseling, even though the regular counselor was away on vacation and the doctor who performed the abortion wrote on a form that Beck was living alone and had no support. The court heard that Beck had made “numerous cries for help” after the abortion and had made a previous suicide attempt the month before her death. She died in February 2007.
In a suicide note quoted by the Daily Mail, Beck wrote: “Living is hell for me. I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum. I told everyone I didn’t want to do it, even at the hospital. … I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies – they need me; no one else does.”
Her story echoes that of other women who said they were in despair and suicidal after their abortions, many of which were coerced or unwanted. Judith, quoted in Hope and Healing, writes:
“My doctor said the baby-at six-and-a-half weeks-was ‘just a blob,’ and I believed him. Afterwards, before I even got home, I began to cry. It didn’t help. When finally I stopped crying on the outside, I kept crying on the inside. … I felt cheated, betrayed, and manipulated. I went to counseling and the psychologist said ‘Forgive yourself,’ and ‘Let yourself go on.’ She didn’t say how.”
Another woman, Janet, a police officer, writes of trying to shoot herself after her abortion:
“With quiet deliberation, I took my handgun from under my pillow. I chambered a round, walked into my living room, sat in a chair, put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger. … To this day, I cannot think why the gun did not fire … I find it amazing in retrospect, how we can function so well in front of others, while suffering like that.”
Research Links Abortion to Coercion, Suicide
In one survey of U.S. and Russian women who underwent abortions, 60 percent of the American women said they “felt like part of me died” after having an abortion and 36 percent had thoughts of suicide. 64 percent said they felt pressured by others to abort and more than 50 percent said they felt rushed or uncertain about having an abortion. However, 84 percent said they did not receive adequate counseling and 79 percent said they were not given any information about alternatives to abortion.1
Record-based studies of women in Finland and the U.S. found that women who had abortions were more likely to commit suicide than women who carried the pregnancy to term. In Finland, aborting women were six times more likely to commit suicide in the following year than delivering women,2while a U.S. study that looked at outcomes for up to eight years after the pregnancy found that women who had abortions had a 154 percent higher risk of suicide than women who had giving birth.3
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1. VM Rue et. al., “Induced abortion and traumatic stress: A preliminary comparison of American and Russian women,” Medical Science Monitor 10(10): SR5-16, 2004.
2. M. Gissler, “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459-63, 2005.
3. DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002.