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Induced abortion after feeling fetal movements: its causes and emotional consequences

  • Colin Brewer (a1)

Of 40 women who had abortions between 20 and 24 weeks gestation and had felt fetal movements, eleven had a history of significant menstrual irregularity, six had changed their minds about an initially welcome pregnancy, five had been told that they were not pregnant, and five had either been refused by the NHS or were unable to get sympathetic advice at an earlier stage. In only fourteen cases was ‘wishful thinking’ or an unrealistic attitude to the possibility of pregnancy an important cause.

Twenty-five of the women were followed-up at a minimum of 3 months after their abortion. Five reported feeling depressed because of their abortion but none of them had required specialist advice, and only one had time off work or school for this reason.

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Bagley, C. (1976) On the sociology and social ethics of abortion. Ethics Sci. & Med. 3, 21.
Bracken, M.B. & Kasl, S.V. (1975) Delay in seeking induced abortion: a review and theoretical analysis. Am J. Obstet. Gynec. 121, 1008.
Brewer, C. (1977a) Failure to diagnose pregnancy as a cause of late abortion. Lancet, i, 46.
Brewer, C. (1977b) Third time unlucky: a study of women who have three or more legal abortions. J. biosoc. Sci. 9, 99.
Brewer, C. (1977c) Incidence of post-abortion psychosis: a prospective study. Br. med. J. 1, 476.
Kerenyi, T.D., Glascock, E.L. & Horowitz, M.L. (1973) Reasons for delayed abortion: results of four hundred interviews. Am. J. Obstet. Gynec. 117, 299.
Registrar General (1973) Supplement on Abortion. HM Stationery Office, London.
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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
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