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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Media: “Abortion has no mental health impact on women”

15 December 2016

​While the initial reaction to abortion is often relief, symptoms of post-abortion trauma can present months or years later. 

A study by researchers at the University of California has claimed that women who are denied an abortion suffer worse mental health outcomes than those that have them.

The claims of this report are being widely repeated in the media, with many stretching them further to say that there are no mental health effects associated with abortion.

The study tracked women who either received or were denied abortions (because of gestational limits) from 30 facilities in 21 U.S states. They found that a week later, those who had been turned away were more likely to report anxiety symptoms, lower self-esteem and lower life expectancy.

However, the lead author of the report, Antonia Biggs of the University of California, admitted that by six months after the event, women who had abortions and those who had been turned away had similar mental health profiles.

Not surprising

As Randall O'Bannon, the director of education and research for the National Right to Life Committee, wrote on LifeNews, "frustration and anxiety are not surprising" a week after a woman has been refused an abortion. "Given the circumstances, the remarkable finding is that even at one week after, a number of women had already come to terms with the denial (information from earlier studies using the same Turnaway data). Much of it dissipates with the arrival of the baby." He also points out that counsellors know that negative reactions may not present until ten years or more later.

Denying women's pain 

Clare Bremner, a counsellor for the Abortion Recovery Care Helpline, said "It's sad to see so much effort going into downplaying and even denying the pain and grief so many women suffer after abortion - don't these women deserve to be heard too? Given the increased suicide risk, which cannot be denied, it follows that there will be other, less fatal effects, like depression, anxiety, self-harm and Post Traumatic Stress symptoms, as well as crushing loss and regret."

SPUC runs a campaign on the miscertification of abortion under the mental health clause.

HFEA approves "three-parent" embryos

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has today approved the creation of babies made from three parents.

Bioethicist Dr Anthony McCarthy, of SPUC condemned the decision saying:

"It comes as little surprise that the HFEA has approved the creation of 'three-parent' embryos given their track record of undermining respect for the human embryo and the integrity of human reproduction. The two techniques which the HFEA has decided to permit are not curative of mitochondrial diseases and in no way help those who already have them."

 Read the full press release.

BBC glorifies Paralympian's euthanasia decision

The BBC has produced a long article, as well as radio coverage, on Marieke Vervoort, the Belgian Paralympic athlete who has signed euthanasia papers ready for when her decision deteriorates.

The article provides a moving account of Vervoort's struggle with her painful and debilitating disease, and highlights her amazing achievements. However, it reports her comments on euthanasia uncritically, and gives no representation of the dangers to the vulnerable of a high-profile person promoting euthanasia.

One example of uncritical reporting is that the article describes Dr Wim Distelmans, who suggested euthanasia to Vervoort, as a "leading palliative care expert". Dr Distelmans is in fact a high profile euthanasia promoter, who was involved in controversial cases including the killing of a pair of deaf twins, and the first child to die by euthanasiain Belgium.

Meanwhile, a newspaper columnist has called for euthanasia on the grounds that it could "solve the social care crisis".

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