Abortion: government website video stirs up controversy

In an on-line video on the government’s website which professes to advise women about abortion, an obstetrician gynecologist, Dr Philippe Faucher, affirms that abortion does not lead to long-term psychological side-effects, speaking of studies but neglecting to cite them.

However the High Authority on Healthcare, cited in the (IGAS) report on the prevention of non-desired pregnancies (2010), indicated that “Abortion often remains a difficult event from a psychological viewpoint. This dimension lacks objective and scientific evidence. “ 

No studies have been conducted since this observation by the public authorities. Interrogated in 2010 on the lack of data by at least forty deputies requesting an epidemiological study be conducted on the psychological side-effects of abortion, the Health Minister flatly said “No”: “Measuring the psychological impact of abortion by means of surveying women having had recourse to this act meets with obstacles which appear difficult to overcome.”

For years, renowned professionals have been warning that the psychological impact should not be ignored, such as Professor Nisand or physchoanalyst Sophie Marinopoulos, specialized in abortion. Authors such as psychiatrist Stéphane Clerget (How old would he be today? The taboo of interrupted pregnancies, Fayard, 2007) or sociologist Luc Boltanski (The fetal condition, Gallimard 2004) have equally ascertained for a long time that women can have psychological side-effects.

According to the survey OpinionWay for Nordic Pharma in March 2013, 85% of women declared to have suffered during medically-induced abortion, including moral suffering for 82% of them, or physical suffering for 67%. This confirms a preceding survey carried out by IFOP in 2010 on women and abortion: 83% of women thought that abortion left psychological impacts which are difficult to live with.

In France, post-abortion accompaniment is rarely proposed: 16% of health establishments declare systematically proposing a post-abortion appointment within their establishment and 3% elsewhere. (study of DREES (French Department for Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics) on professional establishments performing abortions).

Denying the psychological suffering that numerous women experience long after an abortion is harmful and lacking compassion. Such is the experience of Alliance VITA, who has accompanied women for over twenty years, with its listening service hotline SOS Baby, where women confide their suffering following an abortion, sometimes many years later.

The government’s choice to have a controversial doctor as spokesman, who is accustomed to denying the psychological impacts of abortion, confirms the direction of its’ political agenda: the willfulness to trivialize abortion in contradiction to women’s experience, their expectations and their needs.

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