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Someone should do a study or something on the effects that are had on people who are denied abortions. Not that we need yet more evidence that the pro-life side is constantly pulling facts from mid-air, but hey. I know being denied an abortion sure would do a lot of harm to myself. More than having the abortion would do. (I'll be honest and say that I'm not even sexually active and my boyfriend and I still have already decided we'd likely be aborting an accidental pregnancy.)
I’m the kind of person who would be harmed by my own actions if I were to be denied an abortion.
I would absolutely find a way to self-abort. I would find pills. I would do anything.
What I think is likely to happen, with all these restrictions, is the sudden uprising of black market abortion inducing medicine. It’ll be obscenely expensive. And what’ll happen then? They’ll start investigating miscarriages. You know, it’s not like they’re not ALREADY doing that (in case you missed the news, some states are now setting in motion the plans to make all miscarriages events that MUST be reported by doctors).
I think studies like that would be extremely hard to do, because honestly, many people who wanted an abortion and didn’t get it do end up loving their child, and would therefore have a hard time answering, “So do you wish you had been able to get that abortion?”
Though it is certainly interesting and, I think, necessary, to hear from people who were denied abortions. Their point of view is important - it is important for people to hear that denying an abortion is just as bad as forcing one.
There is an ongoing study on this very topic! It’s called the Turnaway Study, and you can read about it on the New York Times. The findings so far indicate a greatly increased risk of poverty for those turned away, compared to women who got the abortions they were seeking. (The NYT article also talks about your second-to-last paragraph!)
Participants will continue to be interviewed twice a year for five years after their abortion, so we won’t see the complete study for a few more years.
Reminder that there is no scientific evidence to prove fetal pain exists at 20 weeks. Even the scientists behind the studies used by pro-lifers to push this argument have said their work has been misinterpreted and misused.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: Statement on HR 3803 (fetal pain unlikely before third trimester)
Fabrizi et al. (2011). A shift in sensory processing that enables the developing human brain to discriminate touch from pain. Current Biology, 21(18), 1552-1558. (fetal pain at 35-37 weeks)
Lee et al. (2005). Fetal Pain: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence. Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(8), 947-954. (fetal pain at 29-30 weeks)
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists updates its guidance (fetal pain after 24 weeks)
I’ve been taking data for music therapy study at the hospital since the summer, and just started helping with the literature review on pain and music. Just today, I found three (unrelated) articles on music during vaginal delivery, music for anxiety and coping during surgical abortion, and “music therapy as an anti-oppressive practice.”
Science is great, guys.
ETA: Except when researchers think they’re doing music therapy when there is no music therapist! That happens toooo much. Fact: It’s only music therapy if a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC) is implementing it.
Rocca et al. (2013). Women’s Emotions One Week After Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion in the United States. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 45(3), 122-31.
Experiencing complex, even negative emotions after an abortion does not mean a patient feels they made the wrong decision. Post-abortion emotions vary from patient to patient, and from abortion to abortion, depending on life circumstances, social support, and the difficulty they had making a decision. Forcing all patients to undergo mandatory ultrasounds or biased counseling does not address these issues, and may even make the negative emotions worse.
This study also found that, in one of the groups, most of the women who felt regret also felt relief. Most of the women who felt regret also felt the abortion was still the right decision. Focusing on one or two individual emotions denies the reality that we all live - we all experience multiple, often conflicting emotions at any given time.
If anyone would like the full PDF of the study, send me your email address and I can get it to you. Students can also access it through their library account.
If you see any abortion studies from these sources, they are likely riddled with errors (intentional or not), rendering their findings unusable. Anti-choicers will cite said articles in attempt to prove their point, but a simple search into these sources will prove their bias is simply too great, and their methodology too poor, to be accepted into any debate.
- Priscilla Coleman
- David Reardon
- Byron Calhoun
- Joel Brind
- Vincent Rue
- J.C. Willke
- Phillip G. Ney
- Jesse Cougle
- Anne Speckhard
- The Elliot Institute
- Breast Cancer Prevention Institute
- Institute for Pregnancy Loss
- The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research
- MaterCare International (MCI)
- The National Physicians Center for Family ResourcesIf the person with whom you’re arguing insists on using these sources to back up their claims, you can direct them toward this post on how to evaluate scientific studies (scroll down to the bullet points if you don’t want to read a longer explanation). In the meantime, here’s a list of reputable sources.
Reliable institutes, journals, and databases (credit to prolongedeyecontact):
- Guttmacher Institute
- Center for Reproductive Rights
- The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG)
- Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP)
- Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)
- National Abortion Federation (NAF)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Contraception Journal
- Reproductive Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
- The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
- The Lancet
- Google Scholar
Always check the authors and the institutes and organizations with which they’re associated. It’s hard to trust a member of Physicians for Life to publish unbiased articles on reproductive health. Similarly, an author associated with a Catholic university won’t necessarily put out invalid studies on abortion, but it is something to keep in mind. Lastly, check to see what degrees the authors hold, and if it’s relevant to their area of study. David Reardon got his undergrad degree in electrical engineering, which has nothing to do with abortion. His degree in biomedical ethics came from an unaccredited university with no classroom time, yet he is still one of the most prolific authors of junk science on abortion.
I’ve fixed it now, but the post I made rebutting falsehoods about Planned Parenthood has a bad link. The American Psychiatric Association used to have a page on abortion and mental health, which has disappeared, and I accidentally linked to the American Psychological Association twice. Both of these organizations have refuted the existence of post-abortion stress syndrome, a disorder manufactured by the pro-life movement to bolster their claims that abortion is dangerous to mental health.
The American Psychiatric Association is in charge of writing the DSM, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is the universal classification and diagnostic tool for psychiatrists. The updated version, DSM-V, was published in 2013. Until they get their page up again, just know that PASS is not and has never been included in the DSMs I through V. While emotions vary after abortion, and many do feel guilt, regret, anger, or sadness (all of which are valid and deserving of care and attention), without its inclusion in the DSM-V, PASS is not a legitimate diagnosis.
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