Saturday, August 16, 2008

Supreme Court lies on abortion

I remain convinced that most of the anti-choice (I refuse to call them "pro-life") fanatics don't know anyone who has had an abortion. Still, for a group dedicated to the oppression of half of the population, they have had incredible success.

One recent victory is Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court's decision last year upholding a ban on so-called partial birth abortion. One of the points Kennedy makes in his opinion is that:

While we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptionable to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. See Brief for Sandra Cano et al. as Amici Curiae in No. 05-380, pp. 22-24. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow. See ibid.

If you unpack these sentences, what they say is that there is no evidence for what we're about to say, but it could be true that "some" --how many? don't bother asking--women have some regret; depression and loss of esteem "can" follow--we can't say for sure that they do follow, but it's possible. Thus, they couch their opposition to women's autonomy in a pretended concern for women's best interests. It's almost hard to believe that someone with training in close, logical reasoning could make such statements.

This week the American Psychological Association released a new study, finding that there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.

BOSTON—There is no credible evidence that a single elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in and of itself causes mental health problems for adult women, according to a draft report released Tuesday by a task force of the American Psychological Association.

The APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion reached its conclusions after evaluating all of the empirical studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals since 1989 that compared the mental health of women who had an induced abortion to comparison groups of women, or that examined factors that predict mental health among women who have had an elective abortion in the United States. The task force, formed in 2006, was charged with collecting, examining and summarizing the scientific research addressing mental health factors associated with abortion, including the psychological responses following abortion.

"The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy," said Brenda Major, PhD, chair of the task force. "The evidence regarding the relative mental health risks associated with multiple abortions is more uncertain."

To me, this is welcome news. Obviously, there is a vast category of people to whom the facts don't matter. Still, every chance we can get to demonstrate that there is no factual basis for their claims is important: it exposes the roots of their positions for the superstition and bigotry that they are.


Blogger Leney said...

And how many other things that aren't very good for you, and can lead to regret, are legal in this country?

-gambling -alcohol -nicotine

It is not the job of the courts to decide what we can and can not do based on the idea that we might feel BAD about it! Just as the government doesn't have the right to decide what anyone should be forced to do with their body for 9 months. Add to the that the concept that if you're old enough to have sex you're old enough to deal with the consequences of the decisions you made after pregnancy - where the **** do these ******* getting off?

(Thanks for posting this up Jack...I hadn't heard about this story yet)

August 17, 2008 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If for whatever reason, a woman regrets getting pregnant, she's going to have to live with the consequences. In a western society she has the choices of abortion, adoption or accepting the child and bringing it up. The choice she makes should ultimately be hers and hopefully she'll get the support from friends and family that she needs.

August 29, 2008 4:37 PM  

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