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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Harvard Backs Judge Schreier: No Such Thing as "Abortion Trauma Syndrome"

Judge Karen Schreier got one thing right in her ruling last week on South Dakota's law putting bureaucrats and ideologues between women and their doctors. Her Honor declared that the portion of the law "requiring doctors to tell pregnant women that abortion increases the risk of suicide and suicide ideation is 'untruthful and misleading.'"

Funny: that's what I said last year about the sloppy science cited by abortion-ban proponents. And that's what the Harvard Review of Psychiatry said just this week:

In a review of 216 peer-reviewed articles on the subject of abortion and mental health, the authors of this study found that “the most well controlled studies continue to demonstrate that there is no convincing evidence that induced abortion of an unwanted pregnancy is a per se significant risk factor for psychiatric illness.” (p. 276) [cited by "Serena", "New Study Debunks 'Abortion Trauma Syndrome,'" Feminists for Choice, 2009.08.24]

But I'm sure Harvard is biased. They're just liberals who want women to kill their babies so there will be fewer kids growing up to go to college and pay tuition... oh, wait a minute....

Some more interesting facts from Feminists for Choice:
  • The percentage of pregnancies termianted by induced abortion is about the same in the U.S. as worldwide, about 22%.
  • In terms of physical risk, women are more likely to die from childbirth, appendectomy, or tonsillectomy.
  • If women who have abortions suffer any depression, it's more likely caused by the very anti-abortion protestors professing to protect them:
    "[Entering] abortion clinics through a group of anti-abortion demonstrators [is] a stressor that has been shown to be associated with psychological distress . . . [And] increasing a women’s belief in her ability to deal with having an abortion decreased her likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms following abortion. Such findings suggest that insofar as inaccurate “informed consent scripts” undermine a woman’s belief in her ability to cope after an abortion, they may contribute to her risk for depression [p. 270 of the Harvard study, emphasis Serena's]."
The whole anti-choice movement appears to be doing more harm than good. If Leslee Unruh and Steve Hickey are truly worried about women's well-being, they'll at least stop trying to bad laws based on bad science.


  1. I'm trying to think of a better title for your post here. It needs to be something that better captures your insistence to invalidate the stories of hundreds of thousands of women who say abortion hurt them. You, the one who we enjoyed watching rise up to defend the women in our state from sexism earlier this summer (Epp's babe of the day). Yet now, you ignore numerous other studies and are without heart toward women who regret their abortion.

    Really, and you've heard me say this before... do thinking people even need a study? I point you again to the Kourtney Kardashian story we were focused on yesterday where she was, in her words, "sitting on the bed hysterically crying" about her unplanned pregnancy. If having a living child in you creates that level of emotional engagement, to think there is NO emotional fallout from the violent and irreversible removal of that child is idiocy. Any "doctor" who refuses to acknowledge that is withholding information in the best interest of his patient.

  2. Well said Robert!

    Imagine saying to your no-longer-in-denial but now grieving and guilt-laden spouse... "Enough already! Suck it up, this Harvard study says you are just fine."

    I'm not sure how Mrs. Madville would respond. Mrs. Voices Carry would mince no words telling me where I can shove that Harvard study. And if I, like Cory, persisted in continuing to invalidate her reality I'm thinking she'd suggest I bunk up with one of the Harvard ideologues tonight.

  3. I invalidate no one's individual narrative. However, science invalidates the general claim that abortion causes increased incidence of clinical depression or suicide. There is a difference, and you don't get to invalidate the truth of my claim by making a wholly different and inaccurate claim.

    (And "Robert," read the comment policy.)

  4. Cory, your comments are laden with confusion and betray that you are in a corner. It's hard to follow you really----- Harvard says it's not real, but it is real for some women, but we can't make laws because it's not real, but to be clear I'm saying it is real for you but it's not real, Harvard is telling the truth, but you are not lying, Steve and Leslee are lying and hurting you but Harvard is on your side even though those scientists are right in saying you are delusional and deceived.


    There is no other way to interpret your insistence to invalidate the claims of hurting post-abortive women. If you don't believe me, hopefully someday you will meet one who can tell you first hand what it's like to have millions in propaganda money spent supporting those who lied to you and hurt you - dollars spent to assure the whole world that you are the one who is crazy. Hardly a group on the side of women if you ask me and millions like me.

    Science?? Please take the time to read what the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with. There is a whole body of scientific evidence that validates post-abortive grief and suffering. Predictably these studies are as fiercely attacked and ignored and marginalized and under-reported by the PC crowd as are the sceintific studies that show gay behavior is unhealthy for your body and for society. To stubbornly deny the existence of studies that conclude abortion hurts women is the height of ideological blindness on your part. Planned Parenthood was UNABLE to convince the US Appeals Court that there is no emotional fallout with abortion (suicide, suicide ideation) and the court decided to give women the full scoop. I've provided you with links previously but obviously you, and Judge Schreier haven't read them. This is why Schreier will be an easy reversal once again.

    Better stick to subjects you know like the Madison Daily Queen windfall and subjects like how socialism will work here even though its been disastrous elsewhere. What you are propagating is perpetuating the victimization and exploitation of women by abortion and those who profit from it.

  5. Not quite, Steve. A specific woman has an abortion. She later reports feeling depressed. I deny neither fact stated by that specific woman. But the Harvard study shows the unreliability of the self-reporting, non-randomly selected, improperly compared data that you improperly use to make a scientific conclusion that, in general, abortion increases the risk of depression, suicide, etc.

    And why do you keep turning it into a personal argument? Is your arugment so incapable of standing simple logical discourse that you have to paint your opponent in the argument as an evil idiot obsessed with the Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day (and it sounds like you're denigrating that decent humanitarian event as trivial) and socialism? Not terribly rigorous or Christian, Pastor Steve.

  6. I enjoyed your Dairy Queen story. And I'm saying you are well-versed spokesperson for the false promises of socialism. You routinely hammer me for being stuck on one-note on my blog. Hello? For a few reasons I chose to devote a blog to that topic alone. Do I deserve to be denigrated for that from the one who champions the blog venue to effect social change?

    Abortion is personal. You are making my point. I deal with real women, not Harvard ideologues who set good scientific method aside in hopes to one day get invition to the White House.

    Read the studies, listen to the women. I look forward to the day you join me in hammering this outfit that puts greed and profit above what is best for women.

    And, I don't think you are evil.

  7. Thank you, Pastor Steve, for clarifying. Your words above were conveying a different message.

    Nowhere do I deny that abortion is personal. I agree it is personal. But from that point, I contend that it should not be political the way you try to make it by advocating government-enforced doctor scripts and abortion bans. The personal cannot become the basis for laws for everybody.

    It's popular to mock academics, but the Harvard researchers are doing science, not setting it aside (have your people hired someone to write up the critique on their methodology yet? A direct indictment of Harvard's specific findings is tellingly absent from anything you have said yet). They analyzed the studies and found no scientific link between abortion and depression, suicide, etc. Supporters of South Dakota's anti-abortion legislation have routinely claimed there is scientific evidence of such a link. Judge Schreier rightly removed the post-abortion syndrome potions of the doctor script because it has no basis in science.

    And on the personal side, independent of the core argument here: if I perceive that your "one-note" focus on this issue does not promote the public good or at least might better serve your readers if couched in the context of broader issues and more consistent application of Christian principles, then yes, I reserve the right to criticize that one-note focus. But that is a separate issue. The fact that you focus on abortion (plus a smattering of misinformation on other topics) does not render your arguments invalid (though if we want to go here, I could argue that your reliance on demonstrable falsehoods to advance arguments against President Obama and health care reform weaken your credibility in general). Harvard's review of 216 studies says that on the issue of a scientific link between abortion and negative mental health impacts, you are wrong.


    Suck it up! Cory and Harvard and insistent in saying this... you and any study that validates the grief and guilt you struggle with are not to be considered "science."

    Cory - what did the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals base their decision on in the matter of suicide and suicide ideation? Clue, it's the very stuff you and Judge Schreier refuse to acknowledge exists... scientific studies showing increased suicide and suicide ideation.

    Oh the arrogance of "science" - God must LOL. Or, cry.

    Here's why we need laws. Because there is an billion dollar industry that does whatever it wants, to hell with who it effects and hurts. I thought you were for government involvement and takeovers?? Except here... let's keep any govt. regulation away. There are some organizations who have made it painfully obvious they are incapable of complying with laws and therefore it has become necessary for these organizations to be meticulously monitored to ensure that their "doctors" act like doctors.

    On my blog I've provided evidence that it doesn't matter what paperwork Planned Parenthood shows the Dept of Health, it doesn't mean they are using it. We know they aren't. They are above the law. A "script" shouldn't be necessary but it is because, as I establised last week via tape recordings inside Planned Parenthood... they are telling abortion bound women NOTHING about this procedure of abortion. NOTHING. Nothing medical. Nothing scientific. 2009 science is not on their side and so they speak NOTHING of it to women.

    My friend asked NINE times for information, they finally gave her a yellowed-by-age fourteen year old booklet on fetal development then made her sign a paper that she received what the state law say she was to receive. They told her seven times verbally it wasn't required that she receive what she repeatedly asked for. They never gave her what she asked for or what the law requires. That's criminal and unconscionable as far as any supposedly legit health care provider goes. At minimum real doctor would tell her patient she needs to be aware that there are studies that report up to 30% of women deeply regret their abortion. Then let the woman consider it and make an informed choice. Did you listen to that tape recording I put up last week. You ought to. Note the absense of sceince and the presence of jibberish.

    And you lecture me on SCIENCE?! These folks are running from the science as are you!

  9. Good grief. Just when I think we're returning to rational conversation, Steve goes ballistic. Oh well. I guess I'll just have to hope women (and men) read what I'm actually saying rather than Pastor Steve's persistent misrepresentation of my words.

  10. Cory did you read anything I wrote? It's unfairly dismissive to just comment that I went ballistic. I'd think a debate coach would have a better grasp on some of my rhetorical devises. (Oops, I suppose that was personal again. Not that the ballistic comment wasn't personal.)

    Fastidious makes a common sense observation that completely undermines the integrity of your sacred Harvard study. (I got notice of her comment via email - did you delete it?) It's important so here it is again...

    "When a woman chooses to end her pregnancy in an abortion, her body is still going to attempt to return to its normal hormone levels. That change, again, will have an impact on some women's mental well-being. So, it's odd to me that people will accept this idea - that women are impacted by pregnancy hormones - on the one hand (carrying the baby to term) but deny it on the other hand (aborting the baby)."

    As one with graduate level training in dealing with both grief and trauma, to her comment I'd add...

    ...There is, often times, a long and difficult process following loss. Considering what is no longer arguable, that science confirms the unborn are biologically human, it's therefore preposterous to think that women who choose to end the pre-born human life within them won't at least face, to some degree, the same stages of grief we scientifically know follow human loss. What is more is how all this gets compounded by the realization by the one grieving that THEY are responsible for ending the life.

    Denial is the first stage and many women go years in this phase. Anger and depression follow. This is far more intense than the normal postpartum hormone swings. Long after hormone levels normalize, we scientifically know repressed grief manifests at some point. There are triggers common to many women that draw them back into the pain and remorse.

    You write as one who has no clue.

    If you are reading this and need post-abortion counseling, I hope you'll contact me and I'll make sure you get good information.

    Sad really that Planned Parenthood offers NOTHING to post-abortive women, they do NO follow up after they shut the cash register drawer, and they keep NO records or have ANY information on how women do after they leave their abortion appointment. Shocking, really.

  11. Steve, when what I've already said fully responds to your repeated misrepresentations, I feel no obligation to repeat myself. This isn't a debate round where I ahve to put something on the flow every time I rise from my chair for the predetermined alternating speeches.

    As for deleting comments: again (and again, as I posted even today), I delete every comment from people I don't know. I also delete spam ads... which your effort to draw counseling business might come perilously close to. You might want to make clear you make no money off your counseling.

  12. I'm not soliciting counseling appointments. I don't personally do counseling anymore. I do listen a lot when people need that. Mostly I pay for people to get help - and that offer stands for any post-abortive woman who needs help but can't afford it, and I refer them to places and people locally who know how to help them. We have a pastoral counseling team here, LIfegtae Christian Counseling is here, we have lots of counselors who work in agencies around town who attend here. I'm not soliciting for any of that - I'm letting women know that Planned PArenthood has NOTHING for them but that I can directly connect them to people who can help and post-abortive groups all of which are free.

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  19. [My apologies: various commenters have felt boliged by professional considerations to remove their comments. Below are anonymized versiond of some of the conversation]

    [Commenter 1]: I'd like to post a response at length, but the comment section is already quite long. So I'll try to be brief.

    As a master's level therapist, currently practicing and working on a PhD, I want to offer a thought or two.

    The Harvard study says abortion is not "a per se significant risk factor for psychiatric illness." From what I gather, the study references clinical mental disorders as defined by the DSM-IV-TR. However, non-clinical disorders including grief, regret, non-clinical depression, or thoughts of suicide, could certainly be experienced post abortion. The above symptoms (while not clinical disorders) can be significant impairments to functioning. This is very important to recognize.

    But not all women experience the same thing. In fact, trauma is determined by an individual's reaction, not by the event. One person's car accident could lead to difficulty driving. Another person could experience no change in functioning.

    Steve, I believe you have seen women suffering from terrible grief, regret, and even trauma. The Harvard study does not assert that abortion does not cause hurt, sadness, etc. It says abortion does not have a significant correlation to clinical disorders (e.g. major depression, bi-polar disorder, or post traumatic stress disorder).

    Some women will be forever changed by an abortion. The same is true for women who become pregnant, get married, get divorced, lose a pet, get fired, see a parent die, lose a business, etc. Life is traumatic in a myriad of ways. No one escapes without scars. Some people need help negotiating life's changes and traumas. The field of counseling is focused on helping moderate to high functioning people grow and develop despite negative (even catastrophic) circumstances.

    But can we ban abortion on the grounds that it can cause grief, regret, remorse, or even trauma? No. Those are inherent experiences for every human. Plenty of other major life decisions can lead the very same experiences. So if you want to ban abortion, it needs to be on grounds other than what's outlined above. In my opinion anyway.

    [Hickey's edited response]: Commenter 1: ANY other medical "remedy" that is known to cause ill-effects of ANY sort would carry with it notable governmentally mandated warnings. Except abortion. We continue to play russian roulette with a major medical procedure profoundly affecting women and when every sixth woman gets shot we blame her and not the slimeball who gave her a gun promising it was unloaded.

    And you say this is just another thing in life that may hurt people. Suck it up lady, life is hard. You demonstrate you haven't touched this area in your practice yet. BTW - the event IS traumatizing, and this isn't just about their reaction... read up. Women in our state are being told to shut up and lay back down, they are medicated unknowingly to them to calm them down, made to sign consent forms before ever talking to a doctor and they are medicated to calm them before seeing a doctors, many are coerced, all are given inaccurate information, and then the noises and pain. Maybe someday a gal will come into see you and tell you what I've heard many times... "every time I turn on the vaccuum cleaner I'm reminded of the horror of those five minutes. They wouldn't let me up or stop when I said stop." But again Brian, I guess that's just life. Some people lose businesses as you say, and some lose babies. No difference. Wow

  20. [more from Steve]:
    This next part is directed at Cory not [Commenter #1].

    ...Again, you have no idea. I'm just an uneducated unenlightened moron to you. I looked at [Commenter 1]'s vitae and mine surpasses, in fact, more than doubles his in related master and doctoral level degrees and studies and years of experience. But whatever. I prefer the humility I see of the actual PhD's attending CATG, one of whom, I believe, ran the program [Commenter 1] recently graduated from.

    One of the gals at CATG who comments on my blog has a PhD in post abortive recovery and YEARS of practice IN THIS AREA. Maybe I should preface her comments as you've prefaced your friend's.

    Here's some more science Cory...


    Or this... many link's here to science:



    [Commenter 1]: I wasn't asserting any superiority of my education - just referencing my background, as you had referenced yours, Steve, in an earlier comment.

    The idea that I would tell any person (client or otherwise) to "suck it up" regarding anything is antithetical to everything I believe and is a misrepresentation of what I said.

    I was trying to add to the discussion, not attack anyone.


    [Steve]: ...I didn't sense any superiority in your reference to your education. I tried to make clear that I was calling Cory on that one. I'm sorry you got drug into and slimed by my attempt to expose the superficiality of his supposed enlightenment.

    And to clarify, I'm not suggesting you'd ever tell a lady to suck it up. I don't believe Cory would either. My point all along is that those who hold up selective studies that invalidate the reality of hurting women may as well be saying suck it up - they tell me that's what they hear.

    And again, not so much you, Cory is insistent at this point to throw up Harvard studies to make his point that abortion doesn't hurt women. The personal experiences of women who have had abortions is irrelevant to him in terms of how abortion is regulated.



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