Cross-posted from Stuff.co.nz (24/11/2011)
A Nelson woman who stopped to help a young man with Down syndrome who had been attacked by a group of boys says more understanding and compassion from the community is needed.
Nelson resident Nicole Griffiths was driving down Toi Toi St about 3.30pm on Tuesday when she noticed what she thought was a man lying on the side of the road.
Ms Griffiths said she was not sure at first if it was a person, and thought it was perhaps rubbish, as other people seemed to be walking past.
“I thought it couldn’t be someone or they would have stopped. But then I thought I saw a leg.”
She drove back, and found a young man with Down syndrome “sobbing his eyes out”.
Ms Griffiths has a 41-year-old brother with Down syndrome. She said she tried to do what she would have done if the man had been her brother.
“People had come out of their houses, but no-one seemed to want to get near him or anything.
“I just stroked his head and tried to calm him down, but I didn’t get anything out of him for a while because he was so upset.
“And everyone was just talking over him as if he wasn’t there.”
Ms Griffiths asked another bystander to go to the man’s house to get his caregiver.
Another woman called an ambulance, and just before it arrived, the man told Ms Griffiths that some boys had pushed him over.
“But the main thing that got me is that people were just walking past. It could have been anyone. And Victory is supposed to be a really good and upcoming area.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, you should care about other people.
“He didn’t have blood but he had been so scared. Fear is a huge thing for people with Down syndrome.
“Have Victim Support or anyone else been asked to contact him? People like that can’t fight their own battles, and I feel like fighting the battle for him a bit.”
Ms Griffith’s mother, Heather Farndale, said people needed to be aware that these sort of things were happening.
“I have experienced this sort of thing with my son. Teasing is rife.”
She said her son caught the bus from their home near Mapua to the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, and was often poked by other people or children on the bus as he walked past, even though the bus driver was great and tried to keep them in line.
Another example was when her son visited a speedway meeting about four years ago, something he used to like doing quite often because “he felt like a real person going on his own”. He returned home soaking wet. “I said, `But it’s not raining. What happened?’. And these guys had shaken up a two-litre Coke and doused him with it.
“I think we have got to try to do better parenting.”
While there were some very good parents, there were also some who could perhaps do with more understanding, she said.
“It’s not an easy life for a person with an intellectual handicap, particularly if they aren’t severely handicapped, because they realise what is going on, and they realise they are different.
“And it’s not easy being a parent or having a sibling that’s intellectually handicapped, because of these incidents that are happening. Thank goodness there’s not too many, but how many do we not know about? And what were these people who walked past him thinking? What sort of person would walk past someone sobbing on the street?”
IHC New Zealand communications manager Philippa Sellens said that what Ms Griffiths did was “fabulous”, and more understanding was needed by some members of the community.
“People with disabilities tell us all the time that bullying is a problem for them, and we are aware that some people in the community don’t understand intellectual handicaps, and that doesn’t always bring out the best behaviour. Most people are good, but we do get the odd problem with bullying, so we do appreciate it when people step in.”
The man lives at a house run by the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, which declined to comment.
Cross-posted from the Leading Edge blog.
The latest episode of The Pro-Life Guy went live on Life TV on Friday.
Following on from last month’s episode, which looked at the flaws in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s infamous ‘violinist analogy’ for abortion, in this episode we look at what’s wrong with the bodily rights argument for abortion that this analogy gave rise to.
You can check out the latest episode below, or here at Life TV.
I always enjoy reading a passionate but well reasoned argument, and this one discusses some excellent pro-life thoughts to pro-choice arguments. Definitely something worth a read and a ponder! Cross posted from here.
I’ve been reading articles lately on the subject of abortion, gathering information at leisure and trying to understand both sides. I’ve spent considerable time weighing the factors, only to draw the conclusion with which I started: Abortion is irresponsible, reprehensible and wrong.
Rather than writing a normal article, however, which outlines my viewpoints, I’ve decided to answer some of the common arguments that pro-choice individuals often pose about abortion. I’ve heard them all, as I’m sure most pro-life individuals have, so here are my answers to those who advocate abortion:
1. We can’t make abortion illegal! Then women will have to obtain illegal ‘back alley’ abortions!
Women will have to do no such thing. Does this mean that we should make murder legal because people are going to do it anyway? Does it mean that we shouldn’t have laws against speeding, stealing, driving drunk and prostitution? This is, in my opinion, the most back-door argument that one could propose to advocate abortion. Pro-choicers are really reaching with this one. Not only is it illogical, but it can’t be applied to any other law.
2. Abortion is a form of population control.
If you want to approach abortion from an economic standpoint, please remember that each abortion is another taxpayer who will never be able to contribute to the economy. Remember that in China, abortions are forced, and women don’t get a choice at all. It seems heartless and – forgive me – ignorant to propose the killing of unborn children as a way to improve America’s economic status. Perhaps women who cannot care for their children should simply not open the door to pregnancy through sex.
3. Only fundamentalist Christians are pro-life. This shouldn’t be a religious debate.
You can take almost any political or social issue and add a religious slant. I don’t advocate a society in which all people are forced to uphold the beliefs of one religion, but I do advocate a moralistic society. I believe that people – both men and women – should be expected to take responsibility for their actions. If a woman doesn’t want to have a child, she shouldn’t have sex, or she should take proper precautions with the understanding that sometimes those precautions don’t work. It has nothing to do with God or religion or the separation of church and state; it has to do with a lack of moralistic integrity and responsible living.
4. Women should be allowed to make a choice concerning their own bodies.
I agree. Wholeheartedly. Every morning when I wake up, I make a choice to get dressed and go to work, accepting responsibility for everything that I do on a given day. But do I get to choose to drink a fifth of Vodka on my way out the door? Sure, but I also accept the responsibility for anyone I might injure and for the jail time I will most likely serve for driving drunk. We only get to make choices based on what only affects ourselves. Driving drunk affects everyone else on the road, and abortion affects the mother, the father and the unborn child. Why should the father of a baby and the child itself pay for a woman’s inability to take responsibility for her actions?
5. A child isn’t a life until it exits the mother’s body.
How do you know? Seriously, I don’t understand why we get to pass judgment on the time at which life becomes viable! There is no way to know when a child becomes conscious of his or her own life, or even when a child begins to feel pressure, pain and pleasure in the mother’s body. However, I do know that the life inside of a mother is a living entity with the potential to be a doctor, a lawyer or a postal worker. How many expecting mothers say that they can feel their child kick? Or know they are pregnant before the results come back? Life is precious, and we so callously strip it away.
6. You can’t oppose abortion unless you are willing to provide financially for the child’s life.
This is utterly ridiculous, but I’ll address it anyway. Let’s say that we said no one had a right to oppose slavery unless we were willing to provide homes for them? Or that we have no right to oppose pollution unless we are willing to pay for the government’s anti-pollution tactics? You can’t have it both ways. Further, let’s say that you grew up in a poor community, without Nike tennis shoes or your own bedroom to sleep in. Does that mean you wish you had never been born?
7. How can you oppose abortion, but support capital punishment?
This is a frequent liberal argument, because Republicans and Democrats are separated on these issues. Personally, I oppose both abortion and capital punishment, but for the sake of argument, let’s say that I’m a true-blooded conservative. Let’s talk about the differences between abortion and capital punishment. For abortion, the life of an innocent child is stripped. With capital punishment, it is the life of a person whose peers have found guilty of unspeakable crime. Now, please tell me, how are the two related?
8. Children who aren’t aborted might be abused or neglected later in life.
Again, this is extremely faulty logic. We’re supposed to allow one evil in order to prevent another that might never take place? Most people know at least one person in their lives who was abused during childhood. Take a moment to ask that person if he or she would rather never have been born. Further, why aren’t we taking a proactive approach in both instances? Abortion should be illegal, and child abuse already is. So let’s spend our energy fighting child abuse rather than supporting the murder of innocent lives.
9. What if the mother was raped? Shouldn’t she be allowed to do away with the product of that crime?
I can’t imagine the pain, heartache and suffering of a woman whose rights have been so unspeakably violated as to be the victim of a rape. In fact, no one can understand her plight unless they have been through it themselves, I’m sure you’d agree. However, why are we punishing a life that wasn’t even there at the time of the crime itself? Would you advocate the jailing of a daughter for the crimes her mother committed? Obviously not.
10. Adoption is a ridiculous option. There aren’t enough couples waiting to adopt children!
My wife and I have adopted two children – neither infants – and have been waiting two years for an infant. If there aren’t enough parents to take care of unwanted children, then why have we been on the waiting list for this long? Adoption isn’t chosen because women want a quick solution with the least amount of pain. Why go through the physical stress of childbirth when she can just go to sleep and have the problem whisked away? Again, we’re talking about responsibility here. Abortion is a selfish decision.
There are, of course, other arguments for abortion, all of which I would answer if asked. It seems to me that the question isn’t, “What are the answers?” but “Why aren’t we listening?”
Cross-posted from LifeSiteNews.
The latest birth rate record, released last week by the Italian government’s statistical agency, Istat, has shown that in the first four months of 2013, 8,000 fewer children were born in Italy than in the same period of the previous year. With a total fertility rate standing at about 1.41 children born per woman, Italy’s birth rate is ranked 203rd out of 224 countries of the world.
As of this year too, Italian deaths have outstripped births, with 10.01 deaths per 1,000 population and 8.94 births per 1,000. And the gap is widening. The numbers for 2012 showed about 12,000 fewer births than the previous year and about 19,000 more deaths than in 2011.
Moreover, Italians are increasingly reporting that, despite their nation’s reputation for natural beauty, good food and an easy-going lifestyle, they are not happy. According to a survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD Better Life Index, asked to rate their satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, Italians placed their own happiness at about 5.8, lower than the OECD average of 6.6.
While some secular pundits are pointing the finger at the economic crisis, Christian observers have warned that the collapse in the birth rate, and its accompanying social and psychological malaise, have nothing to do with either the post-war economic booms or the current recession. Indeed, the drop in fertility has been a feature of Italian life for four decades, following a post-war population and economic boom. The country legalised contraception, divorce and abortion in rapid succession in the 1970s.
Riccardo Cascioli commented on the statistics, writing in the Christian opinion website La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, that the loss of children is a consequence of Italy’s loss of its religious identity. “Actually you stop bringing children into the world not for lack of money but out of a lack of confidence in the future, and it is no coincidence that the collapse of births in Italy have accompanied the rapid process of secularization, which from a social point of view and from the legislature, resulted in the spread of contraception, the introduction of divorce and abortion with all that this implies.”
While the country is still identified strongly with Catholicism, with about 80 per cent of the population being at least nominally Christian, weekly attendance at Mass has never been lower. An on-the-ground survey in the archdiocese of Milan in 2007 showed that the commonly quoted statistic of 30 per cent was wildly over-optimistic. On the spot surveys showed that only about 15 per cent said they had been to Mass on all of the previous four Sundays.
After a trend of growth in both population and the economy following World War II, the Italian population leveled out and remained essentially unchanged between 1981 and 2001. With increasing immigration, the population again started showing an increase in the beginning of the 2000s.
As of January 2011, Italy’s total population was 60,626,442 inhabitants. The population has grown in the last year, at a rate of about 0.5 per cent. As with most developed nations, however, the only demographic factor keeping Italy’s population from actually shrinking, is immigration. According to 2012 statistics, about 4.3 million or about 7.4 percent of the population are foreign born, up from 6.8 the previous year.
Also with the slow birth rate has come an increase in the average age, with people over 65 now accounting for one fifth of the population. Italian demographer Giancarlo Baliga said last year that by 2041 “The age group most represented in the structure of the Italians will become the 70s.”
With the fertility rate standing at one of the lowest in the world, can be paired the median female age of 45.3 years, a combination from which, demographers say, its is all but impossible to recover. This can be compared with a country of similar population size, the Democratic Republic of Congo, with a median female age of 17.9 years and a total fertility rate of 4.95 children born per woman.
Italy’s population decline is not being slowed even by its immensely superior medical care and consequently longer life expectancy. With only 3.33 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, Italy has one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in the world, compared with the Congo’s 74.87 deaths per 1,000 live births. The Italian average overall life expectancy is 81.95 years compared with the Congo’s 56.14 years.
Commenting on the latest Istat figures and the loss of social confidence, Ernesto Galli della Loggia wrote in Corriere della Sera, “This is the Italy of today. A country whose so-called civil society is immersed in modernity, with 161 phones for every hundred inhabitants, but a population who do not read books… and who hold the European record for hours spent each day in front of the television (just under 4 hours each, according to statistics).” “All these things together are our crisis. And all these things feed discouragement that gains more ground, the feeling of mistrust that resonates today in countless conversations, in the most minute daily commentaries and between different stakeholders. The idea grows increasingly insistent that for Italy, there is no more hope. Increasingly a singular notion is spreading: that we have arrived at the end of a race that began a long time ago between a thousand hopes, but which now is ending in nothing.”
Galli della Loggia blamed political corruption and the economic crisis, saying that the low fertility rate is a consequence of people having less money and less job security. But Riccardo Cascioli countered that while this may seem like “common sense,” its “reasoning is contradicted by reality”. The trend to lower birth rates, Cascioli said, has been a feature of Italian life for four decades, “when the fertility rate of Italian women fell well below the European average, which is currently around 1.5 children per woman”. “In other words, the collapse of births is prior to the economic crisis and, in fact, is a cause of the latter, indeed the root cause.” “We must recognize,” Cascioli wrote, “that this is a crisis of identity for all Italian people, who have long stopped believing in the future and in life, and who therefore are condemned to a slow extinction unless a new factor intervenes.”
Today I’d like to draw your attention to an argument against the death penalty and tie it to euthanasia and abortion.
There is the chance that an person will be convicted of a crime they aren’t guilty of, and sentenced to the death penalty. Because there is the chance an innocent person may be killed, we should not have the death penalty as an option (and instead perhaps keep those who’ve committed the worst offences in jail for the rest of their life).
Pretty straightforward (someone might even point out that there have in fact been several real-life cases of innocent people’s death sentences being overturned by better evidence being considered, but let’s just examine the ‘chance’ argument, i.e. before any real-life cases had actually been proven to happen).
I’m interested here in how this might relate to euthanasia. Let’s grant, for the sake of argument here, that some people are completely willing to die at the hands of another, in their right minds, their family haven’t coerced them, etc. In short, they are ‘suitable’ candidates for the “right-to-die” campaign.
Does this mean assisted-suicide should be legal in NZ? What about the people who might feel coerced to die (sort of like the innocent person killed via the death sentence)? Surely one must grant the possibility that people like this might exist. Perhaps they would be 1% of those killed under a law change. Maybe 30%. I don’t know. But there is a chance, and among other reasons, I think this is a powerful one against euthanasia being introduced. Innocent people might get iced.
Finally, how does this tie into abortion? The argument is sometimes heard that no-one really knows when life begins. If there’s a 50-50 chance that a new human being with full human rights comes into existence at conception, then it seems pretty clear-cut that the “no-one knows” argument actually works against the right to abortion. Even if there was a 1% chance, it easily outnumbers wrongful deaths from the death penalty. And there are none more innocent than those in the womb.
I would like to share with you today about Claudia and Jon, and their young family. As the Sunday show phrase it -
Imagine going along to your baby’s first scan and discovering your unborn child has a condition that will almost certainly mean he/she will be physically and possibly mentally disabled.
Well that is exactly what happened to Claudia and Jon Turner. Placed in a situation where in most cases the parents choose to undergo an abortion, Claudia and Jon present a rather different, more positive message that I believe belongs here in a prolife setting: Everyone deserves a chance at life, no matter how brief that life may be. That we do not, and should not, make the choice for another that their life is not worth living.
Little Eva the little battler, with her loving family. Image from TVNZ, Sunday news.
I think however that today we might do things a touch differently – therefore I encourage you all to go and watch their inspiring story yourselves here for nothing I can write here will carry the same weight. And while you watch just keep in mind – Claudia and Jon’s family is all the richer for little Eva. That is what Eva means after all – life. So, without further ado, go and watch the clip!
Cross-posted from the Leading Edge blog on October 15 2013.
Earlier today the NZ media reported about a very sad case of suicide involving elderly Wellington woman Edna Gluyas, who took her own life by suffocating herself with a plastic bag.
Now for some reason, Wellington Regional Coroner Ian Smith seems to have decided to politicize this truly tragic case.
His first highly questionable action was his decision to label what is clearly an act of suicide as an act of euthanasia.
Euthanasia may take many different forms (voluntary, in-voluntary, non-voluntary, passive, active), however it is universally known that it involves at least one other party who assists directly in the act of euthanasia.
When a person, acting alone, takes their own life, even if they are a “firm believer in euthanasia”, this is clearly an act of suicide, NOT euthanasia.
Anyone who calls an act of suicide ‘euthanasia’ is either doing so because they are ignorant of terminology and facts, or because they have an ideological agenda that they are trying to further.
Even a cursory examination of the facts in this case, as reported by the NZ media today, should clearly give cause for concern here about the mental well being of Edna Gluyas, who:
-Was living alone
-Was struggling with arthritis and back pain
-Rarely visited her GP
-Had had her confidence “shaken” by a car accident in 2011
-Was dealing with the recent death of her pet golden retriever dog
The second highly questionable action of Wellington Regional Coroner Ian Smith was his decision to make the following statement:
“Once again this death raises the vexed issue of euthanasia and, as I have recorded in past cases, this process simply will not go away, and it will be necessary for Parliament to address this matter yet again.”
This statement is extremely problematic, as it indicates that a NZ Coroner is using his office as a ideological/political lobbying mechanism.
As Ian Smith’s statement indicates, he knows full well that the NZ Parliament has already ruled on the issue of euthanasia TWICE in the past 18 years, by voting down two different bills that were introduced to try and legalize euthanasia in this country.
So why would he recommend that it is necessary for Parliament to “address this matter yet again”, unless what he actually means by “address this matter yet again” is: ‘legalize euthanasia’?
Also, how does raising euthanasia legislation yet again in the NZ Parliament have any real or meaningful impact on this particular case?
It’s pretty hard to read this statement as anything other than an expression of a personal ideological position, and a statement of advocacy for a particular legislative outcome (it’s either that, or a massive blunder was made when phrasing this statement).
Surely the findings in this tragic death should have focused on the actual issues of this case, such as elderly care, loneliness of the vulnerable in our community, proper pain management, patient care, etc?
Instead Ian Smith has politicized this suicide and made it about euthanasia legislation.
I think some serious questions now need to be asked about how a coroner can get away with incorrectly labeling a suicide an act of ‘euthanasia’.
Ian Smith has effectively, and without proper justification redefined euthanasia here. This now raises the obvious issue: can any suicide now be deemed an act of euthanasia if a coroner feels like ignoring correct terminology and simply calling it one?
Questions also need to be asked about whether a coroner should be using the office he holds as a pulpit to advance personal ideological agendas.
Remember, if Ian Smith had correctly labeled this case as a ‘suicide’, then he wouldn’t have then been able to go on and propose that euthanasia legislation needs to be raised yet again in NZ Parliament.
Cross-posted from Abort73.com
The term “Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS)” was first used on record in 1981 during a U.S. Senate Subcommittee hearing on abortion and the family.1 Psychologist Vincent Rue testified that, per his observations, the stress of abortion could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. He suggested PAS be used to describe and classify stress disorders related to abortion. Not surprisingly, the term has been embraced by those who oppose abortion and rejected by those who support abortion. Both have a vested interest in their position, even though the morality of abortion has nothing to do with whether or not it causes emotional anguish to the aborting mother.
In 1988, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop was tasked with preparing a report on the effects of abortion on women’s health. Koop’s biography, on the National Library of Medicine website, describes his efforts this way:
As had become Koop’s practice in drafting reports, he personally interviewed experts, activists, and people directly affected on both sides of the abortion controversy. He found that, even more so than in the debate over AIDS, the politics of abortion skewed scientific approaches. Researchers allowed the design of their studies as well as their results to be influenced by their moral and political commitments in regard to abortion. Koop concluded that there was no unbiased, rigorous scientific research on the effects of abortion on women’s health that could serve as the basis for a Surgeon General’s report on the issue.2
His official statement concluded that “the available scientific evidence about the psychological sequelae of abortion simply cannot support either the preconceived notions of those pro-life or those pro-choice.”3 The ambivalence of Dr. Koop’s assertion has not kept abortion advocates from unequivocally stating that abortion has no negative effects on a woman’s mental health—nor do they give any recognition to his earlier writing on the subject. Dr. Koop states the following in a book he co-wrote on the subject of abortion:
To tell a pregnant woman that a few hours or a day in the hospital or clinic will rid her of all her problems and will send her out the door a free person is to forget the humanness of women who are now mothers. With many of the women who have had abortions, their “motherliness” is very much present even though the child is gone.4
Planned Parenthood’s fact sheet, The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion calls, Post-Abortion Syndrome a “nonexistent phenomenon” manufactured by “anti-family planning activists.”5 To justify these remarks, they point out that PAS is not officially recognized by the The American Psychological Association or The American Psychiatric Association. What they don’t point out is that the American Psychiatric Association is an organization radically committed to abortion rights. The APA officially opposes any measure that might limit or restrict the availability of abortion in any way, calling abortion “a mental health imperative.”6 A 2008 press release from then president, Nada Stotland, includes the following:
…there is no convincing evidence that abortion is a significant cause of psychiatric illness. We must distinguish illnesses from feelings… Negative feelings often stem from the circumstances that led the woman to terminate the pregnancy… or from the circumstances of the abortion itself such as demonstrators at an abortion facility.7
She admits that women often experience negative feelings after an abortion but insists that their grief is not an “illness,” and then blames it on other factors (such as “demonstrators” who may have been outside the abortion clinic). This is the same line of reasoning taken up by the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in their 2009 teaching text on abortion. The NAF concedes that “negative reactions (to abortion) can include extreme grief, guilt, shame, anger, regret, (or) increased symptoms of emotional disorders,”8 but argues that these effects must not be confused with “psychiatric illnesses, such as depression.”9 They further assert that “after months or years, distinguishing the possible impact of an induced abortion from other life events may be impossible.”10 Returning to President Stotland, her press release continues:
Women have abortions because they understand the importance of good mothering; they want to have wanted babies and to be able to give those babies what they need to grow up loved, healthy, and happy.11
Apparently, she is arguing that the reason women kill their children through abortion is because they understand how important it is to be a good mother. They “want to have wanted babies,” but since they ended up with “unwanted” babies, they abort them in the service of love, health, and happiness. Does this sound like a neutral, medical observer or someone who might be interpreting data to fit an existing ideology? She wraps up her remarks this way:
Decisions about reproductive health should be made between a woman, her family and her doctor. The best way to protect the mental health of women considering abortion is to ensure that they have accurate, unbiased information, receive good medical care, and are given support by family and friends whether they decide to continue or terminate their pregnancies.12
This is verbatim Planned Parenthood speak. Abortion should be left up to a woman, her family, and her doctor—so long as “family” doesn’t mean the baby’s father or the woman’s parents, who have no legal authority to prevent an abortion, and “doctor” does mean the random abortionist who rarely meets the woman until the abortion takes place. “Accurate, unbiased” information should be offered–so long as it paints abortion in the best possible light, assures women that there are no emotional health risks, and says (or shows) nothing of prenatal development. In light of President Nada’s glowing endorsement of abortion, is it any wonder the American Psychiatric Association can find “no convincing evidence” linking abortion to a general increase in psychological trauma? Their claims become even more questionable in light of the report that prompted Nada Stotland’s press release in the first place. In August of 2008, the American Psychology Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) published a 107-page report. This is how the report answers the question, “Does abortion cause harm to women’s mental health?”:
[This] question is not scientifically testable from an ethical or practical perspective.13
That doesn’t sound very conclusive, and the next two questions yield equally noncommittal answers. The questions are “How prevalent are mental health problems among women in the United States who have had an abortion?” and “What is the relative risk of mental health problems associated with abortion compared to its alternatives?” Here is their response:
[These] questions obscure the important point that abortion is not a unitary event, but encompasses a diversity of experiences.14
Right out of the gate, the TFMHA report states there is no way to measure whether abortion harms a woman’s mental health, and they follow this up with the assertion that even when post-abortive women exhibit mental health problems, these problems might be tied to other things. How, then, does either organization feel confident in asserting that abortion, in no way, increases a woman’s general likelihood of suffering mental trauma? Let’s get to the specifics. Perhaps that will help clarify.
The TFMHA report evaluated 50 published papers that appeared in peer-reviewed journals between 1990 and 2007. These papers “analyzed empirical data of a quantitative nature on psychological experiences associated with induced abortion, compared to an alternative.” In other words, the studies compared the mental health of women who have had an abortion with women who haven’t. Ten of these papers were based on the secondary analysis of medical record data sets. The one deemed the most “methodologically rigorous” by the TFMHA was a Finnish study (Gissler et al., 2004b). The TFMHA report summarized the findings this way:
Across both the Medi-Cal and Finland record-based studies, a higher rate of violent death (including accidents, homicide, and suicide) was observed among women who had an abortion compared to women who delivered. This correlational finding is consistent with other evidence indicating that risk for violence is higher in the lives of women who have abortions and underscores the importance of controlling for violence exposure in studies of mental health associated with pregnancy outcome.15
In other words, even though women who have had an abortion are unquestionably more likely to commit suicide or die in a violent assault than women who haven’t, this might owe to the fact women who have abortions are often subject to greater risks of violence in the first place. Likewise, the NAF asserts that women who have abortions are more likely to experience reproductive health problems down the line, not because of the abortion, but because they are psychologically more predisposed towards other risk behaviors. They write:
Women who terminate a pregnancy differ from those who do not in ways that affect reproductive health. For example, they are more likely to smoke and to be exposed to sexually transmitted infections through a greater number of sexual partners, earlier age at first sex, preexisting pelvic inflammatory disease, and less reliance on condoms for protection from STIs.16
Because of the difficulty in isolating which effects are actually caused by abortion, the TFMHA report rejects the relevancy of this study. The next 15 papers examined were studies built on the analysis of public data sets. According to the report, the most rigorous of these studies (Fergusson et al., 2006) examined a representative sample of young women in Christchurch, NZ. The TFMHA report concludes:
In these analyses, women who had one or more abortions prior to age 21 had a significantly higher number of total psychiatric disorders by age 25 than women who had delivered or had never been pregnant by age 21. This study thus suggests that women who have one or more abortions at a young age (<21) are at greater relative risk for psychiatric disorder compared to women who deliver a child at a young age or women who do not get pregnant at a young age.17
Despite commending the methodology of the study, the TFMHA rejects this conclusion as well, largely because “wantedness” was not a control factor – their assertion being that most women who carry to term, want a baby, whereas most women who abort, don’t want a baby. Because of this, they argue, women who give birth to a “wanted” baby will naturally be in a better mental condition than women who abort an “unwanted baby”.
The data in nineteen of the studies examined was specifically collected so as to compare women who have aborted with women who haven’t. The TFMHA deemed only one of these scientifically sound – a 1995 UK study (Gilchrist et al.). The structure of the study is similar to the 2006 New Zealand study, but concludes that abortion does notincrease the risk of psychiatric disorder. The TFMHA argues that the 1995 UK study is more reliable because it sampled more women, did not restrict the sample by age, and factored out “wanted” pregnancies. As such, this 1995 study from the United Kingdom became the linchpin in the overall conclusion of the American Psychological Association report:
Based on our comprehensive review and evaluation of the empirical literature published in peer-reviewed journals since 1989, this Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion concludes that the most methodologically sound research indicates that among women who have a single, legal, first-trimester abortion of an unplanned pregnancy for nontherapeutic reasons, the relative risks of mental health problems are no greater than the risks among women who deliver an unplanned pregnancy. This conclusion is generally consistent with that reached by the first APA task force.18
Ironically, this assertion comes despite a significant concession made just 2 pages earlier. It reads as follows:
[In order to ascertain the] prevalence of mental health problems among women in the United States who have had an abortion, [adequate research must at minimum include:] (1) a clearly defined, agreed upon, and appropriately measured mental health problem (e.g., a clinically significant disorder, assessed via validated criteria); (2) a sample representative of the population to which one wants to generalize (e.g., women in the United States); and (3) knowledge of the prevalence of the same mental health problem in the general population, equated with the abortion group with respect to potentially confounding factors. None of the studies reviewed met all these criteria and hence provided sound evidence regarding prevalence.19
So where does all this leave us? Right back where C. Everett Koop left us in 1988. No matter what anyone says, there is no way to scientifically prove that abortion does or does not increase the likelihood of mental trauma. There are too many ways to read the data, and too many ways to throw out undesirable results. Nevertheless, the National Abortion Federation continues to maintain that there is “incontrovertible evidence” to prove that abortion does not cause “long-lasting psychological trauma,”20 despite their recognition that “most of that evidence is decades old and doesn’t include any long-term follow-up,”21 which would “impose an undue burden” on women who prefer to “put the [abortion] behind them.”22
For our part, we are perfectly willing to admit our inability to “prove” that abortion causes emotional trauma, but we can provide a host of unsolicited, real-life testimonies from women who have had abortions. At the very least, it is safe to say that abortion has not been a positive experience for the vast majority of these women, nor is it hard to speculate why—which may be why the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that it “seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained… Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow.”23 Though the morality of abortion is not affected by the influence it has on mental health, the misery of these women should not be overlooked. Perhaps a simple, common-sense question can reveal to us what science cannot. Are women more likely to regret having a child, or more likely to regret having an abortion? Even without a peer-reviewed, medically-published study, the answer is fairly obvious.
- Vincent Rue, “Abortion and Family Relations,” testimony before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate, 97th Congress, Washington, DC (1981).
- U.S. National Library of Medicine, The C. Everett Koop Papers, “Reproduction and Family Health,” http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/retrieve/Narrative/QQ/p-nid/88 (June 21, 2012).
- C. Everett Koop, M.D., and Francis A. Schaeffer, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? (Fleming H. Revell Company, 1979), 37.
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., Fact Sheet, “The Emotional Effects of Induced Abortion,” http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/emoteffectsabort_01-07_(spot_revised_05-25-07).pdf (June 21, 2012).
- American Psychiatric Association, APA Official Actions, “Abortion and women’s reproductive rights,” http://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Advocacy%20and%20Newsroom/Position%20Statements/ps2009_Abortion.pdf (June 2010).
- Nada Stotland, MD, American Psychiatric Association Press Release, 2008.
- Anne Baker, MA and Terry Beresford, BA, “Informed Consent, Patient Education, and Counseling,” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 59.
- Carol J. Rowland Hogue PhD, et al, “Answering Questions About Long-Term Outcomes” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 257.
- Nada Stotland, MD, American Psychiatric Association Press Release, 2008.
- Brenda Major, PhD, et al, Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf (2008) 87.
- Ibid, 88.
- Carol J. Rowland Hogue PhD, et al, “Answering Questions About Long-Term Outcomes” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 253.
- Brenda Major, PhD, et al, Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion http://www.apa.org/pi/wpo/mental-health-abortion-report.pdf (2008) 88.
- Ibid, 92.
- Ibid, 90.
- Maureen Paul MD, MPH, “Preface,” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), xv.
- Carol J. Rowland Hogue PhD, et al, “Answering Questions About Long-Term Outcomes” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 259.
- Ibid, 257.
- Bonnie Scott Jones, JD, and Jennifer Dalven, JD, “Abortion Law and Policy in the USA,” Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. Ed. Paul, Lichtenberg, Borgatta, Grimes, Stubblefield and Creinin. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 39.
Cross-posted from Alex Schadenberg’s blog.
Belgian MP’s debating extending euthanasia to children with disabilities and people with dementia
By Alex Schadenberg,
An article written by Adam Withnall and published in the The Independent on October 8, 2013 is reporting that the Belgian parliament has resumed its debate on the extension of euthanasia to children with disabilities and people with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
The article states:
Belgium is set to debate this week whether or not it will extend its laws allowing euthanasia to include children and those suffering from long-term “diseases of the brain” like Alzheimer’s. …
Under the bill being considered, this could be extended to those under 18 if they requested it, their parents gave their consent, and where an expert psychologist deemed the child to fully understand the implications of their decision. …
Under the proposals, medically-assisted euthanasia would also be offered as an option to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Once diagnosed and while still lucid, they would be able to consent to being killed when their illness progressed to the point where doctors decided they were no longer interacting with society – even if on the surface they appeared to be happy and well.
Supporters of the euthanasia bill say it would simply be bringing under legal control something which already happens anyway. Studies have shown that, with terminally ill children whose parents are begging for their suffering to be brought to an end, doctors have been steadily increasing doses of painkillers until they reach lethal amounts.
Dr Dominique Biarent, who runs the intensive care unit at a Brussels children’s hospital, told the Wall Street Journal that this does happen, though rarely, and only ever at the initiative of the child’s parents.
How Much Does an Abortion Cost? The Lives of a Mother and Child
by Cassy Fiano 8/20/13 5:44 PM
Cross posted from here.
Abortion advocates often use finances to explain why women need to be able to legally kill their unborn child. They bemoan the plight of low-income women, who can’t afford to have another child — and need taxpayers to pay for abortions because they can’t afford that, either. What these same abortion backers don’t often mention, though, is what an abortion actually costs.
How much an abortion will cost a woman depends on how far along she is in her pregnancy. The National Abortion Federation gives general estimates of what a woman should expect to pay. Early in her first trimester, an abortion will cost somewhere between $350 – $500.
As she progresses through the pregnancy, the cost will increase. After 20 weeks, she should expect to pay at least $1,000, if not several thousand dollars. Many women also have to travel to get an abortion, so they would need to add travel costs into their totals as well. This is why pro-aborts say that taxpayers need to fund abortion.
But abortion doesn’t just cost women financially. There are other costs, which the abortion advocates rarely mention. Abortion comes with enormous risks to women, risks they’re often never told about. Women might end up paying for their abortion in a number of other ways, whether they have to open their wallet or not.
- Often maligned by pro-aborts, the link between breast cancer and abortion is far from imaginary. Study after study has found that abortion increases a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer. The newest study published found a 20.62% increased risk.
- Women who have had abortions are also found to have increased risks of getting liver, ovarian, and cervical cancers.
- Many women who get an abortion have had one before (about half, according to the Guttmacher Institute). How many of them are told that repeat abortions are found to increase the risk of premature birth?
- Women who have an abortion are more likely to get endometriosis and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
- Women who have undergone an abortion have higher mortality rates than those who have not.
- Abortion brings a large number of major physical complications. These include, but are not limited to, life-threatening complications such as uterine perforation, cervical lacerations, and excessive bleeding.
- Women who have had an abortion are at much higher risk for mental health disorders. These include anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and suicidal behavior — which is shown to increase 155% after an abortion.
- Women are more likely to become victims of domestic violence after undergoing an abortion.
These are just a handful of the risks that can come with abortion. Most women know how much they will have to pay for an abortion before they walk through the doors of the abortion clinic… but how many of them know just how much that abortion may end up costing them?
If you want to read more about the potential costs of having an abortion, have a look through these -