Wednesday, November 17, 2004
They Try to Ignore it, But....
Women who undergo abortions suffer serious psychological problems more frequently than was previously thought, according to a new study.
Published yesterday in the Medical Science Monitor, the study surveyed 331 Russian women and 217 American women who had undergone one or more induced abortions, but who hadn't experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Among the study's major findings were:
- Of American women, 53.9 percent felt badly after their abortion while only 13.8 percent felt relief.
- Some 36.4 percent of the American women had suicidal thoughts and 26.7 percent increased their use of alcohol or drugs.
- Only 10.8 percent of the American women surveyed said they received adequate counseling before the abortion. Fully 84 percent did not receive adequate counseling and 5.2 percent were unsure.
- Over 42 percent of American women reported being sexually or physically abused before age 18 compared to only 11.4 percent of Russian women.
- About 50 percent of all the women surveyed felt that their abortion had been morally wrong.
- Some 79.2 percent of the American women had never been counseled on alternatives to abortion.
- Over 54 percent of American women were not sure about their decision to abort their pregnancy.
"This is the first published study to compare reactions to abortion among women in two different countries," said Dr. Vincent Rue, lead author of the study and co-director of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss. "It is also the first to provide a detailed breakdown of traumatic symptoms which the subjects themselves attribute to their abortions. These results will help mental health workers to be better prepared to recognize and treat the psychological complications of abortion."
David C. Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute, was one of four authors of the study. The Elliot Institute has previously conducted numerous studies on the effects of abortion on women.Increasing concerns over the psychological damage to women who have undergone an abortion prompted Rep. Joe Pitts, R.-Pa., to introduce the "Post-Abortion Depression Research and Care Act," H. R. 4543, in June. The stated purpose of the proposed law is "to provide for research on, and services for individuals with, post-abortion depression and psychosis." In pursuit of this goal, the bill proposes a congressional appropriation of "$300,000 for each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009."
In some circles, if you try to even begin to discuss that there is something like post-abortion depression, they will shut you down, deny your research, and try to discredit you. But it isn't helping the many women who are suffering. when you taint reality with politics.
But what the study does not go into is; what are the mental health implications of being forced to have a child? Post partum depression is common. Depression about giving up a child. Resentment of the child, etc. I don't think anyone argues that abortion is a rosy option, but you really have nothing to compare the numbers to.
But the point I was making was it's wrong to pretend that there's no such thing as post-abortion depression as it would be to pretend there is no such thing as post-partum depression.
And a lot of researchers get chased away from doing that research.
I think we have chatted before regarding the abortion issue. So, I will kind of comment on both in one.
I remember you commenting on the crisis pregnancies in your family. The choice your family made is to be commended. It takes a lot of will and a lot of faith to make that sort of decision when a mother's life is threatened. But you and your family had just that, a choice. I am sure it was made with much discussion and probably a lot of praying. But I would like you to imagine a world where your government hold life as paramount. Life should be protected at all costs. But instead of the government choosing to protect the life of a baby, it chooses to protect the life of the mother by legislating that if a pregnancy threatened the life of a mother, the mother MUST get an abortion. It is not so much different than a government that legislates a mother MUST have a child even if it could kill the mother and the child. These are decisions that I think should be made individually based on ones own faith, morals, health factors, etc. I am sure you are not a big fan of Clinton, but I share his opinion on abortion - it should be legal, safe, and rare as possible.
I think that there is a psychological toll that the majority of women who have abortions pay. I think anyone who claims otherwise is blind or stupid. So we can both agree that more should be done to help those who do make the decision regarding abortion.