Op-Eds

Los Angeles Times, January 23, 1998
By CANDACE De PUY and DANA A. DOVITCH

Abortion is not a frivolous choice.  No woman sets out to create potential life then destroy it.  Yet every year, 1.4 million American women and 50 million women worldwide make the decision to have abortions.

With 30 to 40 years of fertility in a woman’s life, possibly 480 ovulation cycles and a compelling sex drive, the odds are in favor of a pregnancy, whether planned or unplanned. And whether they are pro-choice or anti-choice, Jewish or Catholic, rich or poor, women of every ilk have told us that their response has been abortion.

Life calls for all sorts of difficult choices, and 43% of American women have made an abortion one of theirs.

The political left tells women: “You don’t feel anything, your abortion was only a procedure.” The right tells women: “You don’t just feel sad, you feel traumatized.” So women may begin to fear that because they have natural post-abortion feelings, something must be wrong with them. But there is nothing wrong with them, and there is nothing wrong with having feelings.

The Times of Trenton, 1997
By CANDACE De PUY and DANA A. DOVITCH

Abortion and Politically Incorrect Realities

Many women report that they experience no uncomfortable emotional aftereffects following an abortion. We believe that this is true. We also believe, which is contrary to what Americans are told is “correct” on both ends of the political spectrum, that natural sadness, guilt and loss frequently follow a past abortion. Sometimes these feelings come up in a month, sometimes they surface years later.

In fact, most women have many feelings regarding all the issues surrounding their reproductive life cycle, including menstruation, infertility, miscarriage, adoption, menopause and, yes, abortion. Because of the tragically enormous national brouhaha surrounding the pre—abortion issue, however, women all too frequently remain silenced, isolated and confused within their very private world of emotions. This is not good for women. Without open dialogue, women may mistakenly interpret “discomfort” for “regret” or “pathology,” when, in fact, uncomfortable feelings are normal.  Unfortunately, no one is telling women that this is so.

Letters to the Editor

New York Times, Wednesday, September 21, 2005

When my book about emotional recovery after an abortion came out, the left shouted that women have nothing to heal because it is only a procedure, and the right screamed that my co-author and I were bad people to help murderers.

Women told us that they began to feel crazy because they did have an emotional experience from something that was clearly more than just a procedure but that they didn’t consider murder.

No one goes through life squeaky clean, and the people who have called us or written us letters express great relief that they have been validated for having a deep normal emotional experience in response to losses associated with an abortion — sometimes a partner, sometimes the fetus, sometimes a self-image, sometimes an old sense of spirituality.

All their emotions and losses are human and natural — not crazy.

It is a pity that an abortion is the only surgical procedure that can’t be spoken of in company.

Candace De Puy, Ph.D.

New York Times, Monday, May 28, 2007

It is normal for people to feel depressed about life’s difficult events, including divorce, moving to a new city, job change, birth of a first child and, yes, abortion.  Uncomfortable feelings are not the province solely of women who have had an abortion.  These feelings are an expected and healthy expression of a loss — just as a new puppy, child’s refrigerator drawing or marriage might elicit the normal emotions of joy.

Complex and varying emotions are part of being human. To be protected from them is to be robbed of the richness of an authentic life.

Candace De Puy, Ph.D.

Glamour Magazine, January 1998

As a mental-health professional in post-abortion issues, I would like to add that while one percent of women who have abortions experience a traumatic response, many experience a variety of normal emotions. After all, we have feelings about everything, from buying a home to losing a parent. Why wouldn’t we be moved by ending a pregnancy?

Dana Dovitch, Ph.D.

Wall Street Journal, December 10, 1997

Certainly it is wise to examine ethical considerations in the changing field of reproductive medicine.  But I shudder to think that a discussion of fetal reduction might find its way into the halls of the Senate subcommittee hearing. I hope we can continue to boldly examine the pitfalls of high-tech medicine, while maintaining great compassion for the parents of babies who are not carried to term.

Dana Dovitch, Ph.D.