NRL News

Abortion “denied”—what pro-abortionists say about the consequences and what pro-lifers say

by | Jun 14, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Diana Greene Foster

Diana Greene Foster

When an author has a preexisting conclusion in mind, it’s not surprising that he or she would tailor the evidence to buttress their desired conclusion. Joshua Lang is a student in the U.C. Berkeley-U.C.S.F. Joint Medical Program. Why is the academic setting important?

To quote Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, NRLC’s Director of Education, “When most people see results of a major national study produced by USCF touted in the news media, they assume that authors of the study are objective experts. Well, the folks at UCSF are indeed experts when it comes to abortion, but they are far from objective. If Planned Parenthood is America’s abortion chain and the Guttmacher Institute its source of statistics, then UCSF has long been the nation’s abortion training academy.”

So when Lang writes a New York Times puff piece about a USCF study that examined the fate of women “denied” abortions (typically because they were so far along there would be only a tiny pool of abortionists willing to kill these huge babies), you wouldn’t expect anything other than the company line: for these “turnaways,” what followed was bad, bad, and worse. (See

Note: it’s one thing to claim whatever the study’s authors assert about women who are denied abortion. But for comparison purposes, if you can “prove” that women who DO have abortions have virtually NO post-abortion complications, then what happened to women who didn’t abort looks even more startling.

Prof. Priscilla Coleman has already dealt with that canard in “What Really Happens to Women Who Have Abortions?” She writes there are “more than 100 peer-reviewed studies revealing an increased risk of mental health problems” for women who have aborted.

Lang takes what the study’s chief author (Prof. Diana Greene Foster) says at face value. There is not a smidgeon of skepticism.

Indeed Lang notes that the one study (now 50 years old) by Henry David purporting to find negative consequences for Czech children whose mothers were denied an abortion had (in David’s own words) an “Achilles Heel. But that was not to sound a tiny note of caution, but cited, rather, to show that the work of Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the UCSF, is so masterful it has avoided the pitfalls and limitations of the David study.

What’s fascinating, however, are the stories of two women—“S” and “J”–Lang writes about to illustrate what happens when women are denied abortion. Here is a keen insight by the pro-life blogger Jivinjehoshaphat

Neither S. nor J. (another woman whose experience getting a late-term abortion was detailed) were delayed in seeking abortions by prolife laws. Nor did either have a prenatal diagnosis which revealed problems with the child. Both didn’t realize they were pregnant until late into their pregnancy. J. (age 38) thought she was too old to be pregnant and S. had spotting and typically had light periods. I’m sure that won’t stop abortion advocates from claiming these situations prove the need for more access to abortion.”

“S” never did abort, “J” went to various abortion clinics, finally winding up in New Mexico where she did abort. It’s not clear how advanced her baby was, but the baby would seem to have been no less than 24 weeks old and possibly considerably older.

Is “J” “better off”? All we know is that she told Lang she got a job she would not have been able to secure had she not aborted.

The surprise—given the tilt of the study—is “S.” She never told anyone she was pregnant until she was at the abortion clinic, which turned her away because she was 20 weeks along. (There is a shot taken at a pro-life crisis pregnancy center, but that comes as no surprise.)

“S” had a terrible first few months as a new mom, but lo and behold, we then read this:

“S. now says that Baby S. is the best thing that ever happened to her. ‘She is more than my best friend, more than the love of my life,’ S. told me, glowingly. There were white spit-up stains on her green top. ‘She is just my whole world.’”

Of course this is written off and dismissed. Once a mother has the baby, of course she will say all these positive things. Geez.

Two concluding thoughts. Those who are adamant (like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo) that we don’t have enough late abortions always cite the most difficult imaginable cases to justify what is, to all but the calloused heart, just this side of infanticide. Neither of these women could be shoehorned into that category. They were very, very pregnant because they were in denial. The other reason women seek late abortions is because they are ambivalent—or are adolescents with all that says.

Second, no pro-lifer that I’ve ever known pretends that an unplanned pregnancy is free of difficulties, sometimes great difficulties. What we say is that there has to be a better “solution” than taking your child’s life, not a live-die decision but a win-win outcome.

Lang ever-so-briefly mentions the earlier five-part study NRL did of Foster’s preliminary “findings” but ignores the host of problems we found with Foster’s study and analysis.

Lang made it seem as if our series was about negative physical consequences of abortion, which he claimed “Reputable research does not support.” Dr. O’Bannon did question whether Greene Foster looked longer term for evidence of possible sequelae such as infertility, future miscarriage, or breast cancer.

As for whether “reputable research” supports the claim that abortion is connected to physical consequences such as infertility, future miscarriage, or breast cancer, take a look at the citations page for NRL’s fact sheet “Abortion’s Physical Consequences,” found at The citations for those claims include prestigious journals such as the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and more. Which of those do not qualify as “reputable?”


However, to be clear, most of Dr. O’Bannon’s time and attention in the series Lang cited was devoted to analyzing the data and claims put out by Greene Foster. Carefully scrutinizing that data, Dr. O’Bannon concluded that she had not established the thesis that women having later abortions were better off physically and psychologically that those who sought to abort their babies but did not.

Editor’s note. You can read Dr. O’Bannon’s five part series:

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Categories: Abortion