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Women's responses to abortion: implications for post-abortion support groups.

Authors
  • Lodl, K M
  • Mcgettigan, A
  • Bucy, J
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of social work & human sexuality
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1985
Volume
3
Issue
2-3
Pages
119–132
Identifiers
PMID: 12179640
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Family planning and abortion clinics are starting to recognize the importance of providing postabortion counseling as part of the overall follow-up procedure. The literature on the psychosocial consequences of abortion reveals that abortion is a positive, growth-producing experience for the majority of women. However, abortion can be a stressful and emotionally difficult experience for other women as a result of ambivalence over the pregnancy or abortion, lack of positive support from significant others, feelings of guilt and loss, and inadequate coping skills. This paper reports a model for postabortion support groups aimed at clarifying feelings, reducing alienation and isolation, facilitating appropriate mourning, increasing self-esteem, and bringing appropriate closure to the abortion experience. Since 1984, such groups have been offered by the University of Washington Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) Abortion Birth Control Referral Service in Seattle, Washington. The groups, which meet weekly for 6 sessions and include 2-8 women, use discussions, role play, art therapy techniques, and psychodrama to alleviate abortion-related stress and effect changes in problematic ideas and feelings. Plans for the group developed out of the leaders' observation that women who returned to the Service for a second abortion often had not dealt with feelings or issues from the first procedure. Nonjudgmental acceptance of abortion as an individual choice has empowered many group participants to raise their consciousness about women's social status and take a more active role in decision making about their reproductive life.

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