NRL News

Getting “abortion stigma” backwards

by | Oct 22, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

1in3msmagazinereThe title of the piece at the pro-abortion site is “Abortion Stigma Hurts Women, But Here’s How We Can Start Getting Rid of it.” And the immediate form that this attempt to destigmatize abortion is something called a “1 in 3 Week of Action.”

It’s intended “to get the conversation going,” Tara Culp-Ressler tells us.

The campaign “will mobilize more than 100 communities and campus across the country to help highlight individuals’ abortion experiences. College activists are planning events to provide a space for their peers to openly share their stories.”

Who is behind this? “The national sexual health advocacy organization Advocates for Youth.”

The overall objective? “[T]o bring more awareness to the fact that abortion is a more mainstream issue than most Americans realize.”

Nothing new added to the pro-abortion utility belt—abortion is as American as apple pie is their starting point– yet it’s worth considering for several reasons.

Culp-Ressler dances around the undeniable fact that some percentage of women who have aborted have post-abortion problems. So she employes three diversionary approaches to minimize the damage, so to speak.

First that pro-lifers (“the anti-choice community”) says abortion is always detrimental. Not so. The exact percentage is unknowable at this point. However here’s what we do know.

As reported here [“Study in Prestigious Journal Shows Abortion harms women’s mental health”] , the largest, most definitive analysis of the mental health risks associated with abortion was published September 1, 2011, in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry. Conducted by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, the analysis examines 22 studies published between 1995 and 2009 involving 877,181 women, of whom 163,831 had abortions.

The findings:

— “Women who have had an abortion have an 81 percent higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.

— “Women who aborted have a 138 percent higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.

— “Women who aborted have a 55 percent higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an ‘unplanned’ pregnancy who gave birth.

— “Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety, depression, alcohol use/misuse, marijuana use, and suicidal behavior, compared to those who have not had an abortion.

Second, Culp-Ressler

“Research surveying the individuals who have ended a pregnancy has found that abortion itself doesn’t actually make women depressed or regretful. Most of them say that it was the right choice for them, and they felt grateful to have control over their reproductive freedom.”

Her evidence? A study from the University of California, San Francisco that “finds that one week after having an abortion, the vast majority of women report feeling relief.” But earlier this month NRLC’s Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon thoroughly debunked the study (see “Emotions One Week after an Abortion Decision: Does the UCSF study tell us the whole story?”)

To make just one obvious point, that women feel “relieved” one week out surprises absolutely no one.

As Dr. O’Bannon wrote, “This is a matter of days after their abortion when their immediate response likely is that ‘the problem’ has been ‘dealt with.’”

Third, and finally, Culp-Ressler retreats to familiar pro-abortion territory:

“And when women do report feeling negative emotions after an abortion, those feelings are often exacerbated by the societal stigma that surrounds the procedure. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle.”

And, of course, a key player in creating this “social stigma that surrounds the procedure” are pro-lifers, according to Culp-Ressler.

There are so many myths and misinformation in these two sentences it would take a book to address them all. Suffice it to say that women do not need anyone else—including “society”—to tell them they made a tragic mistake. They know it, which is why post-aborted women are coming into our Movement in large numbers.

To cheer herself up Culp-Ressler’s concludes that abortion stigma

“is directly related to the mounting attacks on women’s right to choose. An unprecedented number of abortion restrictions have been enacted over the past several years, and it often seems like the nation is regressing on this issue even after four decades under Roe v. Wade. Abortion stigma impacts the way that society talks about the procedure, and ultimately the way that politicians legislate it.”

Laws are being passed (the nation is “regressing”) because we know more about the primary victims of abortion–the unborn child–and because we’re learning how many additional victims of abortion there are, starting with the mother (and the father) and including other family member as well.

Culp-Ressler is close to being right about one thing: the more awareness we have about the truth of abortion, the more the conversation will change.

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Categories: Abortion Risks