Monday, December 12, 2005

University of Oslo researchers find that abortion causes more longer term anguish than miscarriage

The Telegraph, BBC News Online and The Daily Mail all report research from the University of Oslo published in the journal BMC Medicine that shows that abortion causes women more longer term anguish than the immediate anguish experienced six months and a year after a miscarriage. One of the key statistics highlighted in the Telegraph editorial is that five years after a miscarriage, less than 3% of the women who suffered a miscarriage demonstrated distress, whereas 20% of the women who had an abortion showed symptoms of distress. The reports draw welcome attention to the need for support for women.

Predictably, proabortion organisations like BPAS and the Family Planning Association, which are responsible for carrying out the terminations and lobby for abortion to be allowed at any time up to birth, and for any reason, immediately dismissed the research. BPAS is quoted saying that women do not return to BPAS for counselling following abortion, but it doesn't take much understanding or empathy to imagine a woman who has suffered and does not want to return to the clinic that was responsible for carrying out the abortion in the first place. How likely is it that staff whose whole business is the daily termination of life would sympathise with a woman grieving for her child, which BPAS repeatedly describes as the product of conception?

A spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians is reported as saying "It has always been considered, and this study also shows, that the decision to terminate may bring with it long-standing feelings of anxiety and guilt.... when necessary, the need for ongoing support and counselling should be recognised and appropriate help given.". But until women are no longer kept in the dark or given only proabortion propaganda, but have a right to know more about the reality of the abortion procedure, the baby’s development and the physical and psychological risks in advance of undergoing an abortion and have alternative options and the negatives of abortion fully spelt out rather than hidden from them by the abortion agencies, they cannot be said to have a real choice. Counselling can only genuinely help women if it precedes abortion not just attempts to alleviate the trauma that could have been avoided. It also must be mandatory, proper funded, professionally run, and carried out by organisations independent of the abortion providers and genuinely sympathetic to the woman’s loss.

Proabortion agencies who go to incredible lengths to avoid the word “baby” are unlikely to want to carry out the researchers recommendation that women should be given information about the psychological effects of losing a baby from miscarriage or abortion. It is standard practice to refer to the baby following a miscarriage as a baby, so how can society pretend that a baby of the same gestation that is deliberately aborted is intrinsically any different?

The Telegraph has a superb editorial which draws the logical and important conclusion that "every month, medical research or horrifying news stories strengthen the argument - and public support - for a tightening of Britain's abortion laws" and obviously that counselling is not a solution in itself as in "the short term, more post-abortion counselling is needed. In the long term, the need for it should be reduced by a change in the law." The Telegraph is right to say that the current abortion limit of 24 weeks (and up to birth for abortion on grounds of disability) is “appallingly high”, however the main subject is that women suffer distress regardless of the gestation of the baby so women need help and support before any abortion and the numbers of abortions overall should be reduced, in order to reduce the harm done to women currently pressurised into abortions.


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