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Eileen Hilliard discusses the book “Surrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion” by Patricia Layton with a client. The book will be discussed during the Pregnancy Resource Center of Southwest Oklahoma’s Post-Abortion Support Group.

Clinic helps women with post-abortive syndrome

Editor's Note: The identity of the post-abortive client is being withheld at their request and to protect their privacy.

Most people know someone struggling with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), but fewer know a woman who suffers from PAS (post-abortive syndrome), and that's because most women don't identify their symptoms as being associated with their abortion.

The Pregnancy Resource Center of Southwest Oklahoma is seeking to help women who may be suffering from PAS, which exhibits classic signs of PTSD. The center will begin its Post-Abortion Support Group on Tuesday that will go through the book "Surrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion" by Patricia Layton. Leading the group will be Eileen Hilliard, a volunteer client advocate at the center, who received her master's degree in counseling from Texas Tech University. Tuesday will be Hilliard's second year to lead the eight-week study.

"One in three women have basically had an abortion," Hilliard said. "Studies show it can be years after that they have lingering effects they might not even identify as being associated with the abortion. But it has very strong emotional effects. So we just want to offer a chance for women to resolve some of those issues. It just shows that you just can't go on and not deal with it and expect it to go away. It's basically PTSD but triggered by abortion."

Most of the women who attended last year's group hadn't dealt with their symptoms until at least 15 years after abortion, Hilliard said. She's not post-abortive herself, but from what she can tell from working with the women is that right after the abortion they're relieved  but the hormonal, emotional and spiritual effects afterwards begin to stack up over the years. And most women don't want to talk about their problems because they either don't know their abortions are the cause or they know and may be ashamed of their abortions.

The Lawton Constitution

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