A Psychiatrist Describes the Abortion Decision

A Psychiatrist Describes the Abortion Decision

Philip Ney MD FRCP(C) MA RPsych is an academic and clinician of over fifty years, has done research into child abuse for more than forty years and has published many papers and books on this subject. In his early research, he became increasingly aware of the connection between child abuse and abortion. Dr. Ney and his wife have also studied children who are survivors of abortion. From their experience conducting therapeutic groups for women and men suffering from the effects of child abuse and/or abortion, Philip Ney wrote “Ending the Cycle of Abuse” (Taylor Frances, New York) and “Deeply Damaged” (Pioneer Publishing, Victoria, BC). The extract below is taken from the 1997 book, ‘Deeply Damaged.” [Bio: the Hope Alive Australia website.]


At some point they make a decision, sometimes too late in the pregnancy, to abort the infant. There are at least fifty-three separate factors to consider in order to make a try rational decision about abortion. Deciding should take six months or more, but most mothers make snap, emotionally-driven decisions in less than one week. There is a sense of relief at having made any kind of a decision. After the anxiety of trying to decide, the relaxation is often seen as a confirmation that they made the right decision. With a decision to ‘terminate’, there comes a grim determination to ‘go through with it’, indicated by the way they disregard any further advice. Yet, sidewalk counselling is demonstrably effective in conveying factual information so men and women change their minds. Once a decision is made, the couple hates anyone to confuse them with facts. It usually means they must once again go through the agonising process of deciding will they or will they not terminate the pregnancy with abortion. Intuitively realising what image it will have, most avoid seeing their infant on ultrasound, even though it is free of charge. If they do, 80-100% of people change their minds about having an abortion.



Having made a decision to seek an abortion, parents seem to readily submit to the humiliating and frequently painful process of the abortion procedure. Once they have been referred, there is sad resignation. “Now it’s out of my hands. I’m beginning to hate this whole thing, but I can’t upset everyone by changing my mind. Besides, they are professionals and should know what they are doing. Just hurry up and get it over with.” But in most, if not all, women’s minds, there is a persistent hope that someone will rescue them.



Having submitted themselves, the couple move in dazed detachment. they arrive at the clinic with a remarkably passive attitude. They often feel as though they were observing the whole process happening to someone else. Having dehumanised their baby, they now allow themselves to be further dehumanised. If they submit to hate and accept the experience as hateful, they will become increasingly angry. If they submit to it as punishment, they will accentuate the pain, and even hope to be injured. If they submit to it as an authority, they will weakly protest so that they can blame someone else. Yet, loving sidewalk counsellors with prayer and genuine concern for a woman are able to break through this barrier of detachment and help a woman see the impending tragedy. We are studying the impact of sidewalk counsellors and have not yet found any deleterious consequence. Hope dies with difficulty. Even while they walk into the clinic or prostrate themselves on the OR table, women often protest. One of the greater tragedies of the abortion procedure is telling women to ‘stop making such a fuss’ or forcefully restraining them if they attempt to leave.