NRL News

The Transformative Power of Post-Abortion Syndrome

by | Dec 19, 2013


Editor’s note. This story, which appeared in the March 2007 issue of National Right to Life News, is today’s installment in our year-long “Roe at 40” series. It’s always extremely helpful to take an in-depth look at the way an honest assessment of how Post-Abortion Syndrome can fundamentally alter the calculus of the abortion debate. Please pass this along to your pro-life friends and family.

sadwoman8If you were a pro-abortionist, or even “pro-choice,” what would keep you up nights counting sheep? A reconstituted Supreme Court, mystified that prior justices had so lost contact with the text and history of our Constitution that they’d created, willy-nilly, a “right” to abortion? Near the top, to be sure.

But worse even than having the mythology wrung out of Supreme Court jurisprudence would be if people became persuaded that the “liberator” of women abortion had freed no one, and in the process had killed over 48 [now 55] million unborn children in the United States alone. What would happen if we woke up and realized that the promises abortion proponents offered had long since come due? How would the cultural conversation over abortion be transformed if this failure to deliver became a truth that could no longer be avoided?

To be honest, it took me longer than I care to admit to realize the transformative power of Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). As I read our benighted opposition, they are increasingly coming to the same conclusion. They are trying to defang PAS by addressing abortion’s extraordinarily negative aftershocks in a semi-serious but ultimately dismissive, even trivializing manner.

To take just one example, there is Emily Bazelon’s piece that appeared in the New York Times Magazine just prior to the annual March for Life. The title was, “Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?” Bazelon, as it happens, is the granddaughter of pro-abortion judge David L. Bazelon and the cousin of the legendary pro-abortion feminist Betty Friedan.

If I may, let me make just a few salient points about a crucially important front in the battle over the execution of 1.3 million unborn babies every year.

“The idea that abortion is at the root of women’s psychological ills is not supported by the bulk of the research,” Bazelon writes. This is flatly contradicted by a wave of research that more definitely than ever has pinpointed abortion as the culprit in many women’s mental health problems.

Bazelon neglects to mention that in many ways the springboard for a reassessment of abortion’s egregious impact on women can be traced back to a study led by David Fergusson. He and his colleagues tracked 1,265 women in a longitudinal study that began in 1977 and is ongoing. Their results were published in early 2006 in the “Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology.”

They found strong associations between abortion and anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicide ideation. As a self-described “pro-choice” researcher, Fergusson’s results sent shockwaves through the Abortion Establishment.

Bazelon was also unmercifully cruel to the post-abortion counselor around whose story Bazelon organized her piece. How does Bazelon explain the tremendous response to this woman among female prisoners who had either aborted and/or miscarried? Granted, the counselor “ministers from the heart,” still how could the female prisoners have been so moved, given the alleged “lack of scientific support for her [the post-abortion counselor’s] ideas”?

Simple. She’s a “true believer,” the all-purpose slur intended to tell Bazelon’s audience that the counselor is equal parts loony and susceptible to totalitarian-esque ideas.

But for Bazelon it’s not enough to explain way the passion and the devotion of the woman counselor. (The readers are supposed to conclude that she’s just a good-hearted kook.) More important, Bazelon has to offer an explanation that writes off the powerful response the post-abortion counselor evoked in the female prisoners, and, by extension, the experiences of other women who come to be healed of the torment they feel over their abortions.

“Her ardor and influence is better explained, perhaps, by the theory of social contagion, which psychologists use to explain phenomena like the Salem witch trials or the wave of unfounded reports of repressed memories of sexual abuse.”

“Salem witch trials”? “Repressed memories of sexual abuse”? It’s like Bazelon’s word processor was possessed. What a bizarre ending.

National Right to Life’s primary emphases are education and public policy. But these outreaches are in service of the ultimate objective: changing hearts and minds in order to save lives.

The pro-abortionists’ campfire kumbaya version, told to youngsters and adults alike, is that abortion was instrumental in women achieving equality, and that it remains indispensable in maintaining that status. That never was true and is even less so today, reducing daily the plausibility of abortion dogma.

Why is abortion a bone in the throat of contemporary culture? Because we all know intuitively that it violates all the rules that make a loving, civilized culture possible. We also know that far from being a “victimless” crime, abortion always kills a baby and frequently maims her mother.

But thanks to our Movement’s collective effort, it’s no longer business as usual. We are providing a nourishing environment where injured women can come to heal and where a dialogue that refuses to pit women against their unborn children can flourish.

A new day is dawning.

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Categories: post-abortion