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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Post-Abortion Syndrome"? No Such Thing

Let's hope the recession keeps our legislators' eyes on the real ball in Pierre. But just in case Roger Hunt or Russ Olson throws Leslee Unruh a bone with some abortion-related legislation...

Remember how the abortion ban advocates argued that they were just fighting to protect women from the emotional harm caused them by abortion? Johns Hopkins University just finished a meta-study of research on "post-abortion syndrome." Turns out "post-abortion syndrome" doesn't exist.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.

"The best research does not support the existence of a 'post-abortion syndrome' similar to post-traumatic stress disorder," Dr. Robert Blum, who led the study published in the journal Contraception, said in a statement.

"Based on the best available evidence, emotional harm should not be a factor in abortion policy. If the goal is to help women, program and policy decisions should not distort science to advance political agendas," added Vignetta Charles, a researcher and doctoral student at Johns Hopkins who worked on the study [Maggie Fox, "Abortion Not Seen Linked with Depression," Reuters via Yahoo News, 2008.12.04].

The only solid correlation the researchers did find was in the nature of the studies themselves:

"The best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not," they wrote.

"...studies with the most flawed methodology consistently found negative mental health consequences of abortion," they added. "Scientists are still conducting research to answer politically motivated questions" [Fox].

Here's to a new administration that will make laws based on solid science, not the figments of Leslee Unruh's imagination. (And one more cheer for an administration that may eliminate Unruh's place at the federal funding trough.)


  1. I thought to reply with a post of my own to rebut John Hopkins major agenda-driven denial. Instead I'll just comment briefly here.

    "not the figments of Leslee Unruh's imagination"

    Really?? Other reputable scientific studies show 30% of women struggle after an abortion. But forget the studies because I think those you site are agenda-driven junk and you think the same of the one's I'll site. Just from the application of common sense - there is no possible way the termination of a pregnancy doesn't come with varying degrees of emotional impact from woman to woman.

    Mostly I want to say that people who have heard women who've not bounced right back after abortion tell their story don't make comments like you have in this post.

  2. Key phrase there: "forget the studies."

  3. It's hard to prove a negative, Cory.

    I recently heard a 50-something woman on the radio (probably NPR, because that's just about the only radio stuff I listen to anymore) who confessed to being tormented by guilt over an abortion she had decades ago. It takes only one counterexample to disprove a theorem, as you know ...

    But I'll agree that people on both sides of this issue tend to let their personal prejudices influence, if not dominate, their conclusions.

    Heck, lots of surgical operations can have negative psychological side-effects. The question is, "How common are psychological problems following an abortion?" One case proves that such symptoms can indeed occur, but says nothing else about the problem.

  4. Stan is always so darn sensible, isn't he? But doesn't your gut reaction just tell you people will be tormented by this years later? Abortion is so obviously wrong even if it is politically right. Sometimes how you feel is more important than how you think. jh

  5. Abortion is a traumatic event, but so is an unplanned pregnancy.

    I don't like abortion.

  6. "But doesn't your gut reaction just tell you people will be tormented by this years later?"

    Seriously, you think that your gut reaction is more convincing than actual data? Yes, many women will probably be a bit saddened by abortions, but sadness is not the same thing as depression, an actual medical condition. Furthermore, women know that abortions aren't exactly the happiest things in life. They know this fully well when they make their choice and someone who chooses an abortion obviously thinks that she'd be happier with the procedure than she would be keeping the pregnancy.

  7. I don't think many women who have an abortion fully appreciate how they will feel hours, days, weeks, or years later. How can they know? When they later see a child that would be the age of their aborted one, when they maybe can't have any more children, when they have kids and then wonder how the aborted child would have fit into this family, the year that their aborted child would have started school, graduated, etc - how can a person at the time of abortion realize all the feelings the above situations will arouse in them?

    There is a big difference between an abortion and any other operation too. An abortion is taking the life of a separate unborn child. Any other operation is to save or better your own life. The psychological effects of each are completely different.


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