(VIDEO) The Myth of “Abortion Trauma Syndrome”


Abortion does not cause mental illness. The very idea of “abortion trauma syndrome” is a myth. Period. In my years of treating women as an ob-gyn, I have never seen a patient who developed a serious psychiatric problem just because she had an abortion.

My colleague Dr. Nada Stotland—a psychiatrist, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and former board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health—has studied the research behind the “syndrome.” She explains that it doesn’t stand up to medical scrutiny:

There are a great number of publications alleging that there is psychiatric damage from abortion. They usually don’t describe a syndrome; they describe suicide, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, whatever. And those articles are characterized by severe methodological problems. They don’t compare properly with people who have had babies. They don’t account for why you had the abortion. They don’t account for did they get this data by recruiting people who are already convinced that abortion made them sick rather than from a population of women which had abortions.

There’s one problem after the other that are so severe that all bona fide scientists have agreed that that literature just doesn’t cut it.

But the bad science hasn’t stopped anti-abortion activists from spreading “abortion trauma” as truth. Crisis pregnancy centers tell women that an abortion will destroy their mental health. And in South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, the law requires abortion providers to “inform” women that they may have suicidal thoughts or develop the syndrome as a result of an abortion.

Helping the myth take hold, Dr. Stotland says, is the pervasive confusion between a feeling and a disease:

Women who have abortions have a range of feelings. One of the problems we have is that we use the word “depression” as an every day word to say you are having a bad day. And it also means a disease and those are two different things. So abortion doesn’t cause depression the disease, but people can be upset around having an abortion. So there are a lot of things that make you upset, that can make you sad about having an abortion, but they don’t make you have a psychiatric disease.

Indeed, a 2000 study in the Archives of General Psychiatry confirmed what clinicians know from our medical practice: that a woman’s mental health after an abortion is best indicated by her mental health before the abortion. The same is true for post-partum mental health.

Dr. Stotland and I and our colleagues across the country do our best to treat patients and give advice based on the strongest medical evidence. That is our duty. We will challenge any bunk meant to separate women from the care they need.

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  • risorgimento

    The categorical statement that abortion (itself) does not cause depression (which appears to be the “psychiatric disease” alluded to here) does not control for any factors beside the abortion procedure itself, and is therefore misleading.

     

    Abortion is often the outcome of a relationship or a life in which stress is present to a high degree. Abortion also involves the loss of a life — that of the fetus (and, face it, in this day and age it is bad science to say that the aborted fetus is not “a life”) — that would, in relationships and lives with less stress, be welcomed with joy.

     

    Dr. Stotland’s point that “One of the problems we have is that we use the word ‘depression’ as an every day word to say you are having a bad day. And it also means a disease and those are two different things. So abortion doesn’t cause depression the disease, but people can be upset around having an abortion. So there are a lot of things that make you upset, that can make you sad about having an abortion, but they don’t make you have a psychiatric disease” is belabored at best, tortured at worst, and, unless it can be shown to be based on a clinical study that controls for many factors, including the ones I mentioned above, is not scientific.

  • invalid-0

    Always comforting to know that we can get an unbiased opinion from a former board member of the Physicians for Reproductive Choice.  I’m sure that if abortion WAS a cause of depression, Dr. Stotland would be totally willing to share that with the world.  No reservations.

    a woman’s mental health after an abortion is best indicated by her mental health before the abortion. The same is true for post-partum mental health.

    I’m not sure I understand.  Is post-partum depression also a myth?  

  • tonys

    “Psychiatric trauma: An experience that is emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking and which may result in lasting mental and physical effects.

     

    Psychiatric trauma is essentially a normal response to an extreme event. It involves the creation of emotional memories about the distressful event that are stored in structures deep within the brain. In general, it is believed that the more direct the exposure to the traumatic event, the higher the risk for emotional harm. “  http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=20130

     

    I would urge those who believe this article to do some further research. You will see that many women have suffered and continue to suffer Post-Abortion trauma.  Every woman does not have to experience it for it to be real to the women who have.

     

    Take a look here for an article & make sure you go to the Comments below the article to read what some women are dealing with:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-371392/Abortion-trauma-years.html

     

     

     

     

  • squirrely-girl

    I’m not sure I understand.  Is post-partum depression also a myth? 

    In addition to the SEVERE physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation following childbirth, one current line of thinking views postpartum depression partly as the result of going “cold turkey” off of nine months worth of pregnancy related hormones and placenta. With most abortions occurring in the first trimester, this really wouldn’t be a relevant comparison. 

     

    That being said, I’ve known women who fell along all points of the continuum with regard to emotional reactions following abortion. I have a couple of friends who really weren’t fazed by the experience and were in the “relieved” camp. Both of those young ladies were undergraduate students, taking birth control at the time and weren’t ready/able to be parents. One has since gone on to get married and has a child now. The other is now in grad school and doesn’t have plans for a family anytime soon.

     

    On the other hand, I can think of one young woman referred for services who was NOT in a “good place” after the abortion. However, to be fair, she wasn’t in a “good place” BEFORE the abortion either. She was a college freshman with a history of depression/anxiety who “fell in love” with an upperclassman student her first semester and they ended up having a one-night stand. She wasn’t practicing any form of birth control at the time and got pregnant. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with the girl long term and offered to pay for half of the abortion. She was DEVASTATED. Her parents found out over winter break and were REALLY pushing (as in threatening to disown) for the abortion even though she wanted to drop out of school and keep the child. She ultimately had the abortion and was depressed afterwards. Do I blame the “abortion” for that… no. I attribute the depression to the “shit storm” that was her life. I’ve said it before, I think pressuring a woman to get an abortion is just as heinous as preventing her from getting one when she wants it. Research is pretty clear that PRESSURING or FORCING a woman to get an UNWANTED abortion will generally result in negative emotional outcomes. I’m pro-choice not pro-abortion.

  • bei1052

    *snip a lot of what SG wrote out*

     

    You didn’t answer his question. If abortion trauma syndrome doesn’t exist and can be measured by a woman’s mental state prior to the abortion, then shouldn’t the same thing be true of post-partum depression.

     

    As it is, this article is an actual affront to women to did have an abortion and suffered later on because of it. Now, I know that some here will simply pass said group off as “far right”, but “Silent No More” is full of women who would call this article complete BS. What about them?

  • squirrely-girl

    In addition to the SEVERE physical exhaustion and sleep deprivation following childbirth, one current line of thinking views postpartum depression partly as the result of going “cold turkey” off of nine months worth of pregnancy related hormones and placenta. With most abortions occurring in the first trimester, this really wouldn’t be a relevant comparison.

    …and provide some little equations for easy comprehension.

     

    Postpartum = biological/hormonal correlates to explain the phenomenon

    Abortion trauma syndrome = ?????

  • crowepps

    No, the same wouldn’t be true of post-partum depression, because PPD isn’t “caused by” the woman’s “prior mental state”.  Instead, it AFFECTS the woman’s mental state.

    MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) — Measuring the levels of a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy might predict whether a woman is likely to develop postpartum depression, a new study suggests.

    Approximately 13 percent of women will experience postpartum depression, a condition that holds significant consequences not only for women but for their infants and families as well, experts say. Once a woman has had postpartum depression, she is more likely to have future bouts of depression, and that puts infants and children at risk for cognitive, behavioral and social problems.

    “If we know early on that a woman is at high risk to develop postpartum depression, then we can implement interventions before symptoms actually occur,” said lead researcher Ilona S. Yim, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine.

    “By means of a simple blood draw, we could correctly identify 75 percent of women who would later develop postpartum depression,” she said.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=6790090&page=1

    ***

    but “Silent No More” is full of women who would call this article complete BS. What about them?

    I think those women have a perfect right to say that this article is complete BS.  Just as other people have a perfect right to say all those women’s claims to be ‘traumatized’ are complete BS.  That’s the problem with everybody getting their own opinion, nobody knows what to think.

     

    Which is why they invented the whole idea of using ‘science’ to track down and determine the facts, so we can all know what is actually TRUE.

  • bei1052

    …and provide some little equations for easy comprehension.

     

    Postpartum = biological/hormonal correlates to explain the phenomenon

    Abortion trauma syndrome = ?????

     

    Two things to bring to light:

     

    1.) The most common form of treatment for PPD is either counseling or anti-depressants, not hormal injections.

     

    2.) About two weeks ago, our dear friend Amie Newman posted a thread about men suffering from postpartum depression.

     

    Now explain to me how the above two issues would fit into the above quoted. For the first, counseling and anti-depressents shouldn’t work to fix hormonal imbalances. For the second, men shouldn’t get PPD, as there’s no biological change in his physiology or whatever post-birth. But neither of those statements are true. So to pigeonhole PPD as as “biological/hormonal” in order to keep from answering arex’s question is poor form– especially considering the following:

     

    Postpartum depression can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. The risk increases if:

    • You have a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times
    • You had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy
    • You’ve experienced stressful events during the past year, including illness, job loss or pregnancy complications
    • You’re having problems in your relationship with your spouse or significant other
    • You have a weak support system
    • You have financial problems
    • The pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted

    The risk of postpartum psychosis is higher for women who have bipolar disorder.

     

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/postpartum-depression/DS00546/DSECTION=risk-factors

     

    I think it’s a fair assumption to assume that if post-abortion trauma syndrome doesn’t exist because it can be explained away by non-biological/hormonal factors, then the same can be done with PPD. Of course, that wouldn’t make much sense, but that’s what you’re trying to do in the case of post-abortion trauma syndrome.

  • crowepps

    I think it’s a fair assumption to assume that if post-abortion trauma syndrome doesn’t exist because it can be explained away by non-biological/hormonal factors, then the same can be done with PPD.

    The difference is that as I understand it, PPD is something which occurs at about the same statistical incidence after births worldwide, no matter what the culture of the women involved.

     

    PATS, on the other hand, seems to be endemic only among ProLife women and those who are being guilt-tripped, and doesn’t occur worldwide but instead only where ProLife propaganda about how abortion is ‘evil’ is widespread.

     

    If it were a physical disease, it should be evident in countries like Russia or Romania where abortion is used as birth control and yet that isn’t the case at all.  That would seem to indicate that rather than a physical disease, it is a culturally induced delusion useful to those who need it to ‘prove’ abortion is ‘bad for women’.

  • invalid-0

    Can we all agree that to obtain an abortion is a life-altering decision, and for many – whether by regret, guilt or simply physiologically by the interruption of the natural biological processes resultant in a pregnancy, a percentage of women may experience negative mental reactions, including depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts?

     

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pro-lifer, but I personally think that the whole post-abortive traumatic disorder is a misguided attempt at stigmatizing abortion.  Misguided in that it’s hardly an effective argument for making abortion illegal, which is our real goal.  Nevertheless, dismissing the claims of thousands of post-abortive women claiming symptoms – or to explain them away as being pre-disposed to the symptoms in the first place – seems to me at best naive and at worst intentionally irresponsible for a doctor claiming to hold a concern for the well-being of women.

     

    If it’s not a real disease, just ignore us.  Worst case scenario, we convince people that it’s real and women are referred to counseling services following their abortions – but it’s still legal and available, eh?

    Then, if it IS a real disease, you don’t look like the fool who said it wasn’t.

  • crowepps

    If it’s not a real disease, just ignore us.

    Since political activists should be free to make up their own diseases and convince people they suffer from them if they find doing so useful in reaching their goals, and they can make a buck by pretending they’re actually counselors.  Since an actual professional counselor is going to say “there’s no such diagosis”.

     

    Sorry, I think this is right down there with demon possession and the ‘gypsy’ telling you your money must be ‘cleansed of a curse’ and chelation therapy and ‘spiritual healing of cancer’ — real people get hurt by con artists who make up bogus stuff and then offer to ‘cure’ them, for a fee.

  • crowepps

    Can we all agree that to obtain an abortion is a life-altering decision, and for many – whether by regret, guilt or simply physiologically by the interruption of the natural biological processes resultant in a pregnancy, a percentage of women may experience negative mental reactions, including depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts?

    One could say exactly the same thing about being in a car accident or dropping out of school or going to a heavy metal rock concert or, for that matter, completing a pregnancy.

     

    ALL the decisions we make in our lives are “life-altering” and ALL of them may result in “negative mental reactions”.  Are we going to make ALL decisions illegal because people might regret them or feel guilty afterwards?

  • colleen

    but I personally think that the whole post-abortive traumatic disorder is a misguided attempt at stigmatizing abortion.

    It’s misguided but I don’t believe that the intent is to stigmatize abortion. After all you come from a religious tradition which insists that any women, Catholic or not, whose bodies cannot sustain a pregnancy should shut up and die rather than be allowed an abortion and is willing to condemn to hell anyone who disagrees with them. Besides burning women at the stake for heresy it’s difficult to imagine anything more stigmatizing and burning people at the stake is illegal everywhere.

    I believe that the intent is to demonstrate a false concern for what y’all call the ‘dignity’ of women. A display of false compassion which allows those who pretend to a conscience to say things like “abortion is bad for women, it will give you breast cancer and make you mentally ill.”

    I suspect that the women whose mental heath is compromised post abortion would be cured quickly if they didn’t believe that they were going to hell because they had had an abortion or that their worth as a human being and social status is determined by the sheer quantity children they can manage to gestate until menopause aren’t in an environment that is spiritually or psychologically healthy to begin with. And, of course, the problem is exacerbated by the blanket condemnation of all forms of effective contraception and the attempts to stigmatize women who use effective contraception.

  • colleen

    opps

  • arekushieru

    I don’t think you read the article.  Why do these women feel these symptoms?  Because of guilt, pre-existing circumstances, etc, etc….  We never said that all women have to feel this, we are simply stating that those women who do feel these emotions should be feeling them reGARDless of these circumstances, in the majority of cases, in order for it to be accepted as such.

     

    Arex brought up some very interesting points.  I disagree with them but I was questioning the very same thing myself, just recently.  Thanks for bringing it up.  I’ve had it clarified for myself, and maybe you have, too, whichever way it was for you?  I hope…?   

  • cpcwatcher

    That would seem to indicate that rather than a physical disease, it is a culturally induced delusion useful to those who need it to ‘prove’ abortion is ‘bad for women’.

    Yeah that!  As a full-spectrum doula (birth, abortion, birthing for adoption, stillbirth, miscarriage, etc), I agree 100%.  Women who experience guilt and shame from abortion do not do so in a vacuum.  All of our experiences as human beings are felt from the perspective of a cultural product.  For example– the way women in, say, the United States approach labor (as a terrible awful thing they won’t be able to handle) is exceedingly different from women in cultures where natural childbirth is more common (by choice or necessity).  That produces the self-fulfilling prophecy of women being more tense and afraid in labor and therefore perceiving or creating more pain for themselves that they will be less likely to handle.  Hence our extremely high epidural rates when compared to other regions of the world, even where they are readily available.

     

    I’ve found the same is true for women who are choosing to terminate their pregnancies.  The more readily they approach and address their fears with a sense of cultural context, the better they seem to be during and after the procedure.  However, the women who are convinced, point blank, that the anti-choicers outside the clinic are right, the more likely they are to feel awful about what they’re doing.  Strangely enough, they still go through with it.  Just a thought about how little of a “choice” some women having abortions feel they have. 

     

    This is not to  invalidate the voices of the women who have had difficulty after abortion (or who are struggling with PPD), but the websites like Silent No More or the so-called “post abortion counseling” offered by CPCs are so agenda-ridden that they are, almost by design, never going to let a woman fully come to terms with her decision unless she becomes an anti-choice crusader.  There are countless support outlets for women who have experienced any degree of negative emotions following any sort of pregnancy loss, and more pro-woman, pro-voice advocates are shooting out through pro-choice organizations each and every day.

  • risorgimento

    To dismiss the attested post-abortion experience of innumerable women seems to me profoundly sexist.

  • squirrely-girl

    I can totally agree that abortion is a life-altering experience (the woman is no longer going to have a child) and for some women the experience is not only life-altering but emotionally and psychologically negative as well. I would NEVER want to dismiss or ignore the plights of those women and I think unbiased counseling can be a positive.

     

    That being said, I’m tired of the PL crowd presenting this “disorder” as an absolute rather than a possibility. What’s worse, is that I feel for some of these women, it’s the PL crowd’s severe shaming and pressure that are contributing to these experiences in the first place. In other words, if a PL woman ends up needing or wanting an abortion, then the guilt (whether she shares the information or hides it) is likely going to be considerably higher than for a woman who considers herself PC. Additionally, having to run the gauntlet, first legally and then literally at the clinic to get the abortion can’t “help” a person feel any better either. Nothing like having baby-killer screamed at you to help calm your emotional and psychological state. :/

     

    Hounding or guilt-tripping/shaming people into an anxious or depressed state and then making up a name for the disorder isn’t helping anybody.

     

     

  • invalid-0

    Colleen, you don’t know me – and you clearly are basing your understanding of my faith on things you have heard from people who aren’t me.  I don’t care to address your comments.  If you really believe that today’s Catholic Church is in favor of burning people at the stake, of denying life-saving treatment to women, or of molesting children (I’m going to assume this… forgive me), then you clearly are someone who would rather demonize my faith rather than, say… i dunno … address the issue we’re talking about.

     

    You’re dismissive, rather than (at least) argumentative.  Your two paragraphs above that DON’T attack me personally start with “I believe” and “I suspect”. If you want to guess at stuff, go ahead, but I don’t have to address your “beliefs” or your “suspicions” while you attack MY “beliefs”.

  • invalid-0

    To the extent we agree, yay :)

    I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me or not.  It seems as though you admit that abortion is life-altering and can lead to symptoms typical of this supposed disorder, but then blame us for it ?  

    I appreciate your attempt at an agreement, but playing the blame-game isn’t cool.  If it makes you feel better to think that we caused it, whatever.  My original point is simply that this article is an example of biased medical treatment from the pro-choice side.

  • colleen

    I apologize for being less than clear. I understand that the Catholic church no longer burns people at the stake or indulges in other forms of public torture. However, I firmly believe there are clear historic parallels between the Inquisitions conducted by the church and the present day ‘pro-life” movement. I was trying to convey the extend y’all have gone to to stigmatize abortion. Inventing a syndrome or desperately trying to link breast cancer to abortion isn’t dome to stigmatize, it’s done to convey the utterly false impression that, by criminalizing abortion the ‘pro-life’ movement cares about women….too.

    My speculation was a response to your speculation. You can tell because I put your speculation in blockquotes.

    Here’s what I know about you.
    I know that you have repeatedly insisted that the Catholic church does not want to deny medically necessary abortions to women. When I have provided you with fact based evidence to the contrary from Fr. John Ehrich, STL, the Medical Ethics Director at the Diocese of Phoenix at http://www.staphx.org/ (and I have provided you with this link several times. The relevant part is the May 17, 2010 entry, Catholic Morality and Pregnant Mothers Who are at Risk ) you have not responded and, apparently, haven’t read the links I and others provided because you keep insisting on my ignorance and engaging in personal attacks while ignoring the evidence I provide.

    Here is what Fr Ehrich says towards the end of his attempt to convey his twisted notion of morality.

    …What we should not do, however, is lower risks associated with pregnancy by aborting children.

    It is not better for a woman to have to live the rest of her existence knowing that she had her child killed because her pregnancy was high risk.

    This was his ‘moral’ judgment in the wake of the excommunication of a nun who approved the abortion of a 10 week old embryo in order to save the life of the woman. His judgment was that the woman should die along with the embryo. He CLEARLY states this.

    A great many other people looked at this case and focused on the nun. Some people focused on the woman who had the abortion. MY concern is that a set of beliefs which leads men to insist that the right thing to do in this situation is to kill the woman by denying her necessary medical care is fatally flawed and sick with hatred; is not a belief system I want informing our health care delivery system.

    I would also like to point out to you that this is a blog “committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights.” This isn’t a blog committed to advancing Catholic dogma, it’s a blog formed so that we can speak about protecting our reproductive health and rights and IMHO one of the best ways to do this is to point out that the religious right (which certainly includes the Catholic church) is deeply hostile to advancing and protecting sexual and reproductive health and rights. I suggest you learn to deal with that reality.

  • invalid-0

    It’s a blog site with a comment board, colleen.  I’m allowed to post my comments regarding your attacks against the Church.  

     

    I haven’t followed all of your links and I don’t intend to.  Just because you can quote a newspaper quoting single representative of the Church, probably out of context, does not mean you can write a thesis on 2000 years of doctrine.  I know what the Church teaches and it’s not that young women are better off dead.  That evidences severe bias on your part. EVEN IF that representative wants her head, he does not speak for the Church if he’s WRONG.  

     

    Let me make this perfectly clear to you – the Catholic Church does not advocate killing.  This includes abortion.  The woman may be provided ANY OTHER medical treatment available, as long as their is no INTENTION to kill the child.  We accept the scientific definition of human being.  If you can identify a good reason why the human fetus deserves protection less than the human infant, please notify your local Bishop of his scientific error.

  • crowepps

    I agree with you – the Catholic Church does not advocate killing. Instead it advocates withholding medical treatment and letting both patients die together rather than attempting to save the one who could be saved.

     

    It isn’t a lot of comfort to the surviving family to know that the woman was neglected to death instead of ‘killed’.

     

    If you can identify a good reason why the adult human female deserves appropriate medical care less than a human fetus, do share.

  • chelley

    First, the catholic church can bite my butt, I am Jewish.  all they live for is making women feel quilty.  I had no guilt, only releif and empowerment,  16 years later when the local wingnuts were trough torturing me, they caused phychological problems.  i have an extreme anxiety disorder, and they plugged right into it, I would say all you Sarah Palins and look-a-likes and sound-a likes destroyed my life.  if I didnt have an anxiety disorder they would not have been able to hurt me the way they did. 

       so screw you catholic church, right to life committee, and so so on.

      when do I get restatution for my life.  a beautiful life,  who was totally against bringing a child into the world with a sick mother and perverted father.  adoption was out of the question.  i am one of those selfish women who could never carry a baby and just give it away, like a toy.  I am a lovely compassionate woman , who cares about this earth and everyone on it. 

              love to all, even if you are affliated with the catholic church.  Michelle Cory

  • colleen

    It’s a blog site with a comment board, colleen. I’m allowed to post my comments regarding your attacks against the Church.

    Oddly the reverse isn’t true on Catholic and ‘pro-life’ sites that allow comments. I’m sorry that you are not able to acknowledge your church’s unremitting hostility towards the goals of this blog and must instead
    attack me personally rather than examine my evidence. I wasn’t reminding you of the goals of the blog to silence you, I was reminding you that you have no authority here and, indeed, are philosophically hostile to the goals of this blog.

    Just because you can quote a newspaper quoting single representative of the Church, probably out of context, does not mean you can write a thesis on 2000 years of doctrine.

    Had you demonstrated sufficient curiosity and followed a link you would have known that I wasn’t quoting a newspaper article. I have been linking to the website of the St Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Parish and the precise words of what serves the diocese of Phoenix as a medical ethics director. I did not take his words out of context, I quoted them exactly. And I am not writing a thesis, I was pointing out on a blog deveted to protecting reproductive heath and rights that the policy of the Catholic church is that women whose bodies are unable to sustain a pregnancy should die.

    Let me make this perfectly clear to you – the Catholic Church does not advocate killing.

    It clearly does when a woman’s body is not able to sustain a pregnancy and the only way to save her life is to abort the ZBEF. You’re welcome to argue that a hospital withholding medical treatment necessary to save a woman’s life isn’t “killing’ her but that does not make it true. It makes for a weak and cowardly rationalization.

    If you can identify a good reason why the human fetus deserves protection less than the human infant, please notify your local Bishop of his scientific error.

    First, no one in the Catholic hierarchy has any interest whatsoever in what a woman has to say about anything, much less a feminist. We are to them what cows are to a diary farmer. Second, even amongst the laity there is scant respect for women and none at all for women who are deeply concerned about the issues this blog was formed to discuss. Your responses here demonstrate that quite well.

    That said, here’s some science for you: the 10 week old embryo (or child, as you would have it) was doomed. There was no way to allow it to develop into an actual person no matter what happened to the woman. The hospital had two choices: withhold necessary medical treatment and allow the woman (and thus the embryo) to die or allow an abortion and allow the woman to live. Even granting the ‘personhood’ of a 10 week old embryo (which I do not) the choices were between 2 deaths and one death. Fr Ehrich and the church that employs him chose two deaths and call it ‘medical ethics’, the nun chose one death and for this she was excommunicated and demoted. If you can see a good reason to NOT kill the woman by denying her necessary medical intervention please write the Diocese of Phoenix and/or Fr Ehrich about his ‘ethics’. It’s not as if the SOB will listen to me.

  • invalid-0

    Nobody ever said she deserves less than the child.  She deserves the same because they are both human beings.  That doctor has two patients.  

     

    If only one can be saved, it will by definition be the mother.  The Church does not “favor” one over the other as much as you would like it to do so.  There is simply no medical condition where emergency contraception, vacuum aspiration, D&C, D&E, D&X or chemical poisoning would be considered necessary or life-saving.

     

    It’s not a complex mandate: Do not intentionally kill a human being. 

  • invalid-0
    • no one in the Catholic hierarchy has any interest whatsoever in what a woman has to say about anything
    • We are to them what cows are to a diary farmer
    • scant respect for women

    You just don’t stop with the generalist untrue remarks.

     

    If the moderators of this site wish to remove my comments, they have a First Amendment right to do so.  I’m not aware of any sites that censor comments in the manner you accuse them of.

     

    Finally, let’s role play.  You’re the doctor, and the same woman from above arrives in your hospital, and says to you that she wants everything possible to be done to save her child AND her.  Based on which medical text would you recommend a suction aspiration?

  • julie-watkins

    The Church does not “favor” one over the other as much as you would like it to do so.  There is simply no medical condition where emergency contraception, vacuum aspiration, D&C, D&E, D&X or chemical poisoning would be considered necessary or life-saving.

     

    It’s not a complex mandate: Do not intentionally kill a human being. 

     

    Do you therefore believe that a publically certified hospital (probably getting taxpayer funds or tax breaks) should enforce nature’s sexism? If you believe [attempting to] complete a pregnancy is an obligation, not a choice then you, by definition, consider women and poor families to be 2nd class. Do you believe this sexism/classism is acceptable?

     

    I disagree that there are “no medical conditions”. Many people here have detailed many medical conditions where abortion can be an appropriate choice. In the case of birth control failure, insisting “obligation” rather than “choice” is sex and class discrimination.

  • colleen

    You just don’t stop with the generalist untrue remarks.

    And yet NOTHING in my experience, including this conversation with you allows me conclude anything different. If you’re going to accuse me of lying you need to come up with a better response than wearing a blindfold and sticking your fingers in your ears.

    Finally, let’s role play.

    Reply to what I’ve actually written.
    I refuse to waste my time pretending that I’m an OB-Gyn. We DO have doctors who post here. Indeed the woman who wrote this excellent blog entry is a physician. You, however, are not. I’ll bet if you asked one of the doctors who post here a polite question about the various things that can go horribly wrong with a pregnancy or a human body that would not allow a woman to sustain a pregnancy and could or would kill her is the pregnancy continues he or she would reply to you. Barring that you could do some research yourself, there is a great deal of information on google. You could spend all week reading what pops up under “complications of pregnancy” or “maternal mortality rate” and I would be happy to supply you with links but really, there does not seem to be any reason for me to waste my time.
    Your claim was that the church does not require the deaths of women whose bodies are unable to sustain a pregnancy. The fact is that your church, as a matter of policy, expresses this requirement by withholding necessary medical procedures and, to a lesser extent, by trying to demonize all forms of effective contraception. Respond to the evidence I’ve provided. Because, really, maternal mortality rates aren’t a propaganda tool of evil liberals, they’re real. Women die from complications of pregnancy all the time and the thing about those deaths is that almost all of them are preventable and unnecessary. I believe that you and Fr Ehrich understand this. I believe that the church requires a certain amount of human sacrifice in order to assert a moral authority it is not entitled to.

  • colleen

    When you tell this lie you put the lives of many women at risk.

  • crowepps

     There is simply no medical condition where emergency contraception, vacuum aspiration, D&C, D&E, D&X or chemical poisoning would be considered necessary or life-saving.

    All of those are necessary and life-saving in cases where the pregnancy has gone disastrously wrong for one reason or another, and your ignorance of that fact means you aren’t qualified to assert an INFORMED opinion.

  • bei1052

    All of those are necessary and life-saving in cases where the pregnancy has gone disastrously wrong for one reason or another, and your ignorance of that fact means you aren’t qualified to assert an INFORMED opinion.

     

    I’m curious. Care to explain to me what such cases would be? I want specific cases, not something generalized.

  • crowepps

    Care to explain to me

    No, actually, I don’t.  I’ve had a very long day, drove 185 miles round trip for a job, and I’m going home.

     

    This exchange of posts wasn’t with you in the first place.  If you’re curious, do your own research.

  • ahunt

    Naughty Bei.

  • invalid-0

    I would like to know.

  • invalid-0

    Since your time seems to be SO valuable that you only selectively waste it bantering back and forth with me, but not indulging my hypotheticals, I’ll try to remain clear, here.

     

    I think we all agree that in situations where an abortion is not medically necessary, you may disagree with them, but you respect the right of Catholic hospitals to follow their values and refuse the treatment.

     

    The problem where you feel a Catholic hospital is “dangerous” is in situations where a woman is near death, and the only way that her life can be saved is to either burn or dismember, and then remove, her baby – there is no other possible treatment.  Is that correct?

     

    If those situations really do exist, please let me know.

  • julie-watkins

    One thing that kills women in childbirth is the fetus/baby’s head being too large to pass her hips. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s odd that something that would kill or cripple the mother in a significant percentage of births, it’s odd that those genes that make big heads would be passed on and perpetuated. However, increased brain size was such an advantage that those genes did breed true, even if mothers were dying. The mother’s genes are going to be passed down if she manages, for instance, 4 live births before the 5th birth kills her. Even the genes that cause a woman to die with her first birth may be passed down if there’s another mother in the vicinity who’s still got milk and adopts the baby.

     

    Anyone who believes [attempting to] complete a pregnancy is an obligation, not a choice then you, by definition, consider women and poor families to be 2nd class.

  • saltyc

    Can we all agree that to obtain an abortion is a life-altering decision, and for many – whether by regret, guilt or simply physiologically by the interruption of the natural biological processes resultant in a pregnancy

    Nope, abortion is a life-maintaining decision, to maintain your life path and goals as they were before the errant sperm got through, to keep things normal.

    And, you’re right that this is a losing strategy, because as Crowepps pointed out

    PATS, on the other hand, seems to be endemic only among ProLife women and those who are being guilt-tripped, and doesn’t occur worldwide but instead only where ProLife propaganda about how abortion is ‘evil’ is widespread

     

    And the best cure might be to stop listening to “pro-lifers’ and hang out with more open-minded, compassionate pro-choicers instead.

  • saltyc

    notify your local Bishop of his scientific error.

    Bwahahaahhahahaha!..Scientific..heheheBWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

     

    Oh, tears streaming down… dying here…dying

     

    The Catholic church does not bow to science, never has.

    Science does not determine rights or status. A Human Being is not synonymous with “human:” as in dermoid ovarian tumors which are also human, and alive. Duh. You pro-lifers keep making the same errors, it’s tiresome. OK so you want to give someone else’s pregnancy full human rights, and feel so …<humanitarian>.. for it. Too bad, your sentiments are trumped by the actual human rights of the woman whose pregnancy you’re so interested in, and instead of a compassionate humanitarian, you’re actually a nosy, shameless busybody. It’s quite unflattering to you actually.

    Bishops… science…. AHAHAHAHHA

  • crowepps

    So far you and I seem to be having a fairly civil conversation which means I will TAKE time to reply to you when I do have it.  Posting on this blog is not my job and I have to spend at least a little time doing something where I actually get PAID.   I don’t want to discuss ‘all men are victims of feminists’ with Quentin because that’s not the subject of this board and he’s an ideologue with only one string to his lute and a tin ear for the other person’s voice.  I don’t want to discuss ANYTHING with Bei1052 because in my opinion he’s a troll.

    The problem where you feel a Catholic hospital is “dangerous” is in situations where a woman is near death, and the only way that her life can be saved is to either burn or dismember, and then remove, her baby – there is no other possible treatment.  Is that correct?

    I’m not sure why you keep going on and on about the fetus being “burned”.  Are you talking about a saline abortion?  Are you aware this is very rarely done because of the risk of complications to the woman?

     

    Regardless, situations in which a pregnant woman can be near death and there is no other solution than to end the pregnant include ectopic pregnancy (hemorrhage), molar pregnancy (cancer), eclampsia (extremely high blood pressure driven by the placenta causing stroke), preeclampsia (same thing in earlier stages), partially detached placenta (hemorrhage), and pulmonary hypertension (heart failure).

     

    In addition to those, there are cases where while the woman is not dying RIGHT THIS SECOND, there is nothing that can be done to save the fetus, and so a doctor following standard of care will intervene to end the pregnancy immediately instead of waiting for the woman’s health to deteriorate enough to make it ’an emergency’.  Those include bag of waters broken (sepsis), partial missed abortion/missed pregnancy (sepsis), and any cases in which the fetus is so seriously malformed that it won’t survive birth, because labor and delivery OR caesarian delivery are BOTH riskier to the woman’s health than an abortion in the second trimester that ‘dismembers’ the fetus to remove it.

     

    I’m sure there are more, this is just what occurs to me right now.  The thing you don’t seem to recognize is that while Catholic women have an absolute right to make whatever decision seems morally correct to them even if their choice is physical disability or death, and Catholic doctors have an absolute right to go into a specialty where their conscience won’t be strained, Catholic hospitals as an INSTITUTION do not have a right to impose their unique religious doctrine on those who reject it by refusing to provide absolutely necessary care by the protocols that are the standard of the profession.

     

    In the particular case from which she quoted, the Catholic hospital and the Catholic hospital staff DID provide the abortion, the ethics committee, even the Sister who served on that committee, DID feel tehre was no other option, and then the non-medically trained Bishop suddenly hove into view and asserted that AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CHURCH he represented correct doctrine and the Sister had damned herself and he felt she shouldn’t be her position and he wanted her demoted.

     

    It’s a little ingenuous of you to say ‘he doesn’t represent the Church when he’s wrong’.  The Catholic Church has 2,000 years of history of its priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes insisting that they get to tell everybody in the laity what to do BECAUSE ‘they’ are the authorities on Church doctrine and that ‘they’ are the ONLY ONES who know what’s right and wrong.  I don’t think anyone has given you permission as a member of the laity to sort the Bishops into ‘wrong/bad doctrine’ and ‘right/good doctrine’.  You’re supposed to kiss their ring and do what THEY say without any complaint, and THEY have zero interest in your opinion.

  • crowepps

    Vatican Rules: Ordaining Women Priests a Crime Like Sex Abuse of Children

    New rules the Vatican is expected to issue soon on penalties for priests who sexually abuse children will also put the ordaining of women in the same category of the most serious crimes under church law.

    Church sources told Catholic News Service that the new “norms,” as the policies are called, will include the “attempted ordination of women” among the list of most serious crimes, or what are known as “delicta graviora.”

    In 2008, the Vatican department overseeing orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed for 23 years before his election as Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 — formally decreed that a woman who attempts to be ordained a Catholic priest and the person attempting to ordain her are automatically excommunicated.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/07/09/vatican-rules-ordaining-women-priests-a-crime-like-sex-abuse-of/

    Raping someone, of course, is NOT a cause of automatic excommunication, even if the rape is incestuous or of a child.

  • colleen

    Raping someone, of course, is NOT a cause of automatic excommunication, even if the rape is incestuous or of a child.

    And their new ‘guidelines’ still don’t require compliance with secular laws. It’s understandable, I suppose. If they were forced to comply with one secular law where would it end?

  • invalid-0

    1. You listed several medical diagnoses where doctors, in some cases, have responded by dismembering the child.  None of those you listed are situations where abortion is required in order to save the woman’s life.  It’s as if you feel that there are situations where a doctor can’t even attempt to save both lives.  Pretend for a moment that you’re not the only one in this country who views the baby as disposable waste and it’s really not that hard to understand.

    It’s a little ingenuous of you to say ‘he doesn’t represent the Church when he’s wrong’.  The Catholic Church has 2,000 years of history of its priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes insisting that they get to tell everybody in the laity what to do BECAUSE ‘they’ are the authorities on Church doctrine and that ‘they’ are the ONLY ONES who know what’s right and wrong.

    2. You know, I think it’s this “epic fail” line of thinking that makes groups like Catholics for Choice think they can actually gain some ground by having a priest on their roster.  Brush up on your understanding of the teaching authority of the Church (I know, I know, you won’t) and then try again.

    3. The right of conscience belongs to the doctor.  But Catholic hospitals are also employers and can hire and fire whomever they d*mn well please (like, suppose, doctors who decide to perform abortions), just like Planned Parenthood can fire a pro-lifer if they wished.

  • arekushieru

    Uh, yes, there are.  UnLESS you are going to claim that you know more than a doctor under EVery circumstance?  By the time most complications actually DO arise it is too late to save the woman or, thus, the fetus.  So, by attempting to save both lives a doctor may have just summarily terminated BOTH.

     

    You see, this is ONE reason why I think Catholic hospitals should be an oxymoron.  (Hospitals operated within the community of the Catholic faithful WOULD be more appropriate.)When was religion EVER an expert on modern medicine?  They are imbuing a hospital setting with their religious beliefs, then denying someone the ability to practice there, on the basis of those beLIEFS.  Planned Parenthood would fire someone on the basis of whether or not they are willing to do the JOB that their medical practice reQUIRES of them.

     

    Btw, this is coming from someone who grew up Catholic and is now a Christian Unitarian Universalist.

  • crowepps

    You listed several medical diagnoses where doctors, in some cases, have responded by dismembering the child.  None of those you listed are situations where abortion is required in order to save the woman’s life.

    You must use a different definition of ‘required’ than I do.

    Problems arise from ectopic pregnancy at or before 8 weeks.  Without intervention, ectopic pregnancy results in 50% reabsorbed/spontaneous miscarriage and 50% dead woman.  It results in ‘live birth’ so rarely that each individual case (I believe there might be three or four in the last 100 years) is considered a miracle.  The reason women rarely die anymorpe from ectopic pregnancy is that standard medical care removes the placenta and fetus immediately and yet women do still die.  This is the most likely cause of pregnancy related death in the first trimester and every woman lost could have been saved by early diagnosis and abortion.

     

    Yes, abortion IS required to save the woman’s life and it seems to me it would be substandard medical care to wait around with your fingers crossed hoping that this patient will be lucky enough to spontaneously abort before it kills her.

    The right of conscience belongs to the doctor.  But Catholic hospitals are also employers and can hire and fire whomever they d*mn well please (like, suppose, doctors who decide to perform abortions), just like Planned Parenthood can fire a pro-lifer if they wished.

    If Catholic hospitals weren’t supported with massive infusions of tax money for their Medicaid and Medicare patients I might agree with you.  But they are and I don’t.  Tax monies received carry with them the obligation not to discriminate against patients on the basis of religion.

  • crowepps

    “HOW FACTS BACKFIRE

    Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It’s this: Facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

     

    This bodes ill for a democracy, because most voters — the people making decisions about how the country runs — aren’t blank slates. They already have beliefs, and a set of facts lodged in their minds. The problem is that sometimes the things they think they know are objectively, provably false. And in the presence of the correct information, such people react very, very differently than the merely uninformed. Instead of changing their minds to reflect the correct information, they can entrench themselves even deeper.

     

    “The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” says political scientist Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher on the Michigan study. The phenomenon — known as “backfire” — is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”

     

    These findings open a long-running argument about the political ignorance of American citizens to broader questions about the interplay between the nature of human intelligence and our democratic ideals. Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence. In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we’re right, and even less likely to listen to any new information. And then we vote.

    But researchers are working on it. One avenue may involve self-esteem. Nyhan worked on one study in which he showed that people who were given a self-affirmation exercise were more likely to consider new information than people who had not. In other words, if you feel good about yourself, you’ll listen — and if you feel insecure or threatened, you won’t. This would also explain why demagogues benefit from keeping people agitated. The more threatened people feel, the less likely they are to listen to dissenting opinions, and the more easily controlled they are.

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/

  • prochoiceferret

    Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

    Well, now we know why the anti-choicers have been at it so energetically: we’ve been overloading them with facts and reality-based arguments! Sadly, that appears to be all we have to go on.

     

    But researchers are working on it. One avenue may involve self-esteem. Nyhan worked on one study in which he showed that people who were given a self-affirmation exercise were more likely to consider new information than people who had not.

    Ohhh, interesting. I think I know who might just be the most potent pro-choice activist of all!

     

     

    (It’s too bad he’s currently busy serving as a U.S. senator…)

  • crowepps

    This would also explain why demagogues benefit from keeping people agitated. The more threatened people feel, the less likely they are to listen to dissenting opinions, and the more easily controlled they are.

    Which perhaps explains why right-wing politicians spend so much time bloviating about how everybody else “hates us for our freedoms and wants to destroy us” and The Church spends so much time talking about excommunicating people and burning eternally in hell, etc.

     

    Never have understood that one myself, isn’t it supposed to be that The Church tells people what it thinks is likely to be what God wants them to do?  Instead The Church seems to leave the ‘good’ to struggle as best they can while focusing on identifying sinners, declaring the punishments it would find satisfactory, and then doing a little preemptive punishing just in case God might have a different opinion and in His judgment someone the Church finds disgusting might be forgiven.

     

    I do understand about the carrot and the stick, but at this point both right-wing politicians and authoritarian churches are pretty much all stick and no carrot.   Perhaps instead of providing facts over and over, we should turn our efforts to helping people escape from the influence of demagogues, whether civil or religious. 

  • crowepps

    I can’t stand atheists. And I plan to do something about them. … I plan to use my young fundamentalist Christian warriors to undermine the mission of every group that disagrees with me on the existence of God.

     

    The Court acknowledges that such “accept all comers” policies may not in fact be desirable for maintaining robust debate on public college campuses. I concur. And I like it that way. I do not seek robust debate. I seek power over the godless heathen dissident.

    Then we will seek to destroy groups whose names are even remotely suspicious. If I see any words like “atheist,” agnostic”, or even “free-thinker” I will know they are a group of godless heathens. Then we’ll move in for the kill.

    In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito observed that the Martinez majority has provided public universities with “a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups.” Alito is right as usual. After we get rid of the heathens we’ll turn our weapon on the gays, the blacks, and the feminists. We might even go after the Italians, too.

     

    http://townhall.com/columnists/MikeAdams/2010/07/01/an_immodest_proposal/page/full

    Judging by the title, this is intended to be satire.  Sadly, coming from a fundamentalist Christian, one can never be sure.

  • squirrely-girl

    … to the basic premises of Greenberg’s Terror Management Theory. 

    …when one’s worldview is threatened by the world view of another, it often results in one’s self-respect being endangered as well. In such a situation, people not only endeavour to deny or devalue the importance of others’ world views but also try to refute the ideas and opinions of others which may, as a consequence, escalate into a conflict…

     

    Research has shown that people, when reminded of their own inevitable death (operationalized as “death in general” for some studies), will cling more strongly to their cultural worldviews. The data appears to show that nations or persons who have experienced traumas (or consequently, reminded of or “primed” with trauma) are more attracted to strong leaders who express traditional, pro-establishment, authoritarian viewpoints. They will also be hyper-aware of the possibility of external threats, and may be more hostile to those who threaten them. Additional research indicates those who are raised by authoritarian parents tend to conform to authority more frequently than those who are not. This perpetuates the belief that culture worldviews are a product of the socialization process and those who are socialized through authority are more susceptible to conformity when their mortality is made salient.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terror_management_theory

    (sorry for the wiki reference but most of the people here don’t have access to academic journals and these are actually paraphrsed quotes from two of them anyways)

    So why does the PL crowd protest, carry edited photos of stillbirths, and scream about killing babies? To make people anxious and encourage conformity to their authoritarian world views. This could be a really interesting study… 

  • crowepps

    Well, there certainly isn’t anything that is more likely to trigger a fundamentalist’s extreme fear of abandonment like seeing an abortion clinic, where women who don’t want to be mothers are enabled to reject their (potential) children in the most overt fashion possible and death is made manifest.

     

    It seems to me like a whole lot of the ProLife propaganda is really about ME, ME, ME!  What if my mother had chosen to do that?  How would I have liked being aborted?  The idea is apocalyptic — it is impossible to imagine how the universe could have continued without ME.  Not having ME around would have been the end of EVERYTHING!