Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Relief is just an abortion away?

This is my third consecutive post on information vital to making an informed choice about a crisis pregnancy. I am posting these to suggest that Canada is a pro-choice country in name, but in fact insufficient information is available to women to make a fully-informed choice. And the withholding of this information has to be deliberate.

In this post, I want to illustrate how women are not warned of the psychological damage that many suffer from choosing to abort.

While in the short-run a majority of women feel relief from having had an abortion, for too many of them various kinds of post-abortion trauma set in over time. There is a North American group of women who have suffered physically and emotionally from abortion, called Silent No More, devoted to this very issue.

Nevertheless, the website of Planned Parenthood states:
Serious emotional problems after abortion are much less likely than they are after giving birth.

A different page on the website of Planned Parenthood states:
Serious, long-term emotional problems after abortion are about as common as they are after childbirth.

Another page on the website of Planned Parenthood states:
Beware of so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" that are anti-abortion. … [They] will lie to you about the medical and emotional effects of abortion.

But the country of Finland has socialized medicine and keeps detailed health records of its citizens. A search of these records over the years 1987-1994 found that 1,347 women of reproductive age (15-49 years old) committed suicide. A 1996 study of this data found that women who had an abortion were about 5.9 times more likely to commit suicide in the year following this event than women who delivered a child.

In 2008, the Los Angles Times reported:
Several studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals suggest that women who have had abortions are more prone to depression or drug abuse. “But the research does not prove cause and effect, [said Nada Stotland, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association]. It may be, she said, that women who have abortions are more emotionally unstable in the first place.”

The California study cited above controlled for mental disorders by eliminating those women who had been treated for a psychiatric problem in the year prior to their childbirth or abortion. When this was done, it was found that women who had an abortion were about 3.3 times more likely to commit suicide in the eight years following this event than women who delivered a child.

To conclude, in theory we are a pro-choice country. But abortion is easier to obtain than it is to really learn a lot about. When groups such as Abbotsford Right to Life bring up legitimate concerns about the safety of abortion, they are routinely attacked as being anti-woman and anti-choice, and are accused of lying and deceiving women.

Now our local regional hospital does not allow abortions, but nearby hospitals do. Women in Abbotsford could arrange for their pregnancies to be terminated for whatever reason and with reasonable dispatch on the public’s dime. And everything would be all right for them--right? Well, in the case of abortion, ignorance is not bliss. They are being deliberately kept in the dark. Canadian women deserve better than this. Don’t you agree?

I am not simply ignoring the crises that pregnancies can genuinely represent in some cases. Much needs to be done by way of public policy and other forms of support for women and their babies. Regrettably, abortion does not rid society of abusive husbands and boyfriends, bad employers, inflexible education systems, unsympathetic families, judgmental churches, and many of the other problems that women will continue to confront even after recourse to an abortion has been taken.

But for the purposes of this post, I am looking at the easy in-by-nine-and-out-by-five, no muss, no fuss, “Are you worried and distressed? Can't seem to get no rest? Put our product to the test. You'll feel just fine now” solution that is pushed on women without regard for the potential risks.

So I say, if Canada really is pro-choice, let’s have all the voices at the table, and all the facts on the table. A woman’s health, and a woman’s future, is too important to do otherwise.

Look at those cells go!

Most abortions take place in the first trimester; i.e., approximately up to 13 weeks. Women are typically told that the fetus is nothing but a clump of cells at this point.

To give just one example, the National Abortion Rights Action League nominated a pro-life organization called Personhood USA to its Abortion “Hall of Shame.” In announcing the nomination, NARAL claimed that Personhood USA "... exists solely to establish legal rights for fertilized eggs and trigger legal battles over abortion that could go all the way to the Supreme Court. Not only could the strategy outlaw abortion, but it could even threaten birth control, stem-cell research, and in-vitro fertilization.”

Now in actual fact, every human being of whatever age and size is a clump of cells. But the impression that medical people and others who use this description want to give, as a way of easing the pregnant woman of any qualms, is that what is inside her at this point would be little more than those frog’s eggs we used to find in swamps when we were kids.

But what is the truth? Here is what those frog eggs are really like:
a. At fertilization
At fertilization, the genetic composition of a preborn human is formed. This genetic information determines gender, eye color, hair color, facial features, and influences characteristics such as intelligence and personality.

b. At 3 weeks
The eyes and spinal cord are visible and the developing brain has two lobes.

c. At 4 weeks
The heart is beating and a circulatory system is in place. The portion of the brain associated with consciousness (the cerebrum) and internal organs such as the lungs are beginning to develop and can be identified.

d. At 7 weeks
Muscles and nerves begin working together. When the upper lip is tickled, the arms move backwards. The portion of the brain associated with consciousness (the cerebrum) has divided into hemispheres.

e. At 9 weeks
More than 90% of the body structures found in a full-grown human are present. The medical classification changes from an embryo to a fetus. Embryologists chose this dividing line because from this point forward, most development involves growth in existing body structures instead of the formation of new ones. The preborn human moves body parts without any outside stimulation.

And at this point we are still four weeks short of completing the first trimester.

Many women who have learned about fetal development after having had an abortion feel like they were deliberately deceived and regretted their choice.