Iowa Governor Declares April “Abortion Recovery Month”

Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad declared the month of April “Abortion Recovery Month” yesterday to “promote abortion recovery programs and awareness of post-abortion stress syndrome.” Minnesota and Texas governors have made similar proclamations in their states in the last year.

Branstad was joined at the signing ceremony by representatives from anti-choice organizations and crisis pregnancy centers (CPC). CPCs often post as comprehensive health centers, while coercing and intimidating women out of considering abortion as an option, and preventing women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice.

The concept of post-abortion “recovery” is controversial, as the term is often used by anti-choice organizations but has not been accepted or recognized by the American Psychiatric Association or the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA released a report in 2008 which found that there is no evidence that abortion causes any mental distress in women.

Gail B. Williams, an associate professor of nursing at the University of Texas notes that women’s real-life responses to abortion are “complex, and are associated with a mixture of feelings.” Dana Dovitch, a psychotherapist and author of The Healing Choice, says, “Women are hypersensitive to the sociopolitical climate and how it affects their feelings. This is the only medical procedure you can’t talk about.” She has noticed that emotional issues, especially feelings of guilt, begin to rise along with anti-choice efforts to restrict abortion.

The Iowa House recently passed a bill banning all abortion procedures after 20 weeks. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.


RH Reality Check 4/21/11; The Iowa Republican 4/21/11; Feminist News 2/1/11; Psychology Today 10/25/10; American Psychological Association 8/12/08; Ms. Magazine 8/1/01

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