I read this and thought it was interesting, as a person who has had an abortion, and decided to pass it along.
What Is PAS?
PAS stands for Post-Abortion Syndrome. It is a medical term that describes the pooling and clotting of blood in the uterus after an abortion. Unfortunately, the acronym "PAS" has been reincarnated by the anti-choice, and now suggests a causal link between abortion and mental illness. PAS is described as being very similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, and is promoted as being epidemic in proportion. The anti-choice movement presents their version of PAS as a "scientific fact," which it uses as a weapon in the battle to delegalize abortion.
It seems unnecessary to argue about whether or not abortion produces emotional reactions. Like any major life experience, abortion can be stressful. Divorce can also be stressful and emotionally upsetting, but right-wing conservatives haven't yet turned the emotional after-effects of divorce into a "syndrome." (But they probably would if they wanted to illegalize divorce.)
The Webster's dictionary defines a syndrome as a "constellation of signs and symptoms recognized by the medical community as characterizing a disease or abnormal condition." But the medical community does not, in general, recognize women's reactions to abortion as "a disease or abnormal condition." For example, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (known as DSM-111-R, an official publication of the American Psychiatric Association) lists abortion as an example of a "psychosocial stressor," but has not recognized the category of Post-Abortion Syndrome.
When I first heard about PAS, I felt that my reactions and emotions after abortion had been validated, in much the same way that it had been a relief to me to know that other women experience PMS. It can be very empowering to have a name for something you're experiencing. But when I realized who had invented the term PAS, and why it had been invented, I understood that the political right was exploiting women's emotions for their political agenda.
I feel that if there is to be a name for women's post-abortion emotions, that it should be constructed by the women who have experienced them. I also think that the name should stay away from the stigma of "disease or abnormal condition." Unfortunately, I fear that the anti-choicers will try to use whatever name exists in their efforts to criminalize abortion.