Why we should avoid the use of the term “Post-Abortion Syndrome”: commentary on Boulind and Edwards (2008)

Macleod, C. (2009) Why we should avoid the use of the term “Post-Abortion Syndrome”: commentary on Boulind and Edwards (2008). Journal of Psychology in Africa, 19 (3). pp. 423-428. ISSN 1433-0237



Official URL: http://www.elliottfitzpatrick.com/jpa.html


Boulind and Edwards (2008) present a case study of Grace, a women suffering, in their words, from post-abortion syndrome (PAS). In this commentary I argue that while Boulind and Edwards’ (2008) report is useful in terms of documenting the therapeutic processes engaged in, they would have been better served in not hanging the distress experienced by Grace on the diagnostic category of post-abortion syndrome. Reasons for this are that: PAS is not a recognised category of diagnosis, despite having been initially proposed in 1981; applying a PTSD framework to abortion is questionable; PAS focuses attention on the abortion itself in isolation from the fact that abortion occurs in the context of severely problematic pregnancies and other important socio-cultural stressors; PAS, in the very manner in which it is formulated, invokes to a very complex politics of the foetus. Boulind and Edwards (2008) are careful in their documentation of the complexities of the case, and thus their use of PAS is unfortunate.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Permission obtained from editor to self-archive
Uncontrolled Keywords:Abortion; postabortion syndrome; therapy; PTSD; post traumatic stress disorder
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Psychology
ID Code:1628
Deposited By: tracy morison
Deposited On:24 Feb 2010 15:31
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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