Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 168–179 | Cite as

A consideration of abortion survivors

  • Philip G. Ney


It is hypothesized that children who have siblings terminated by abortion have similar psychological conflicts to those children who survive disasters or siblings who die of accident or illness. There is evidence that children are aware of their mother's pregnancy termination. Having been chosen to survive these children may have considerable conflicts regarding their existence. Since their life depended upon being wanted and they may become obsessively determined to please or they may feel a deep sense of obligation to their parents. If children have already lost a parent the child may look upon his new unborn sibling as a potential attachment. To be deprived by his mother's choice may stir latent hostility within the child the expression of which would be inhibited by the child's determination to stay wanted. Abortion survivors may be over protected by parents attempting to deal with their unresolved guilt. As a substitute child the abortion survivor may have placed upon him impossible expectations. It is contended that since approximately 50 percent of Western children are abortion survivors there is need to analyze their individual and collective responses.


Social Psychology Pregnancy Termination Collective Response Deep Sense Psychological Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip G. Ney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch Clinical SchoolUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand

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