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Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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Posts: 209
Joined: August 1st, 2008, 11:54 am

Re: Abortion

#61 Post by LilacHamster » August 16th, 2008, 9:00 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

I also feel it is a grave mistake for some humanist groups to attempt to "herd cats" on this issue, as there will always be some who take my view and therefore be put off from getting involved in real humanist matters such as opposing religious privilege and pushing for humanism being presented in schools as well as teaching about religions. (Likewise I would not expect all humanists to be veggie, there are many issues we cannot herd cats on).

I looked at one local humanist group's website and was dismayed to see them take a very hard line on being pro-choice on abortion, as if there was no question about it that all humanists were agreed on this matter. I am told there are no party lines on such issues, so why do they do this? If that was my local humanist group I would feel very unwelcome and would steer clear of them!

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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Abortion

#62 Post by Alan H » August 18th, 2008, 12:53 pm

In today's Times:
Abortion study may be enough to sway those who change our laws - Times Online ... 553560.ece

Abortion study may be enough to sway those who change our laws
Nigel Hawkes: Commentary

The psychological effects of abortion are a subject of endless dispute, particularly in the US. Anti-abortionists would like us to believe that women who have abortions suffer lifelong regrets, amounting in some cases to severe depression.

Defenders of abortion say that the evidence for this is poor, much of it coming from studies that fail to meet the most rigorous standards.

The latest American Psychological Association (APA) study is another round in the verbal ping pong. The chairwoman of the APA task force, Professor Brenda Major, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, is on record as concluding that most women do not experience depression after an abortion. So the anti-abortionists are likely to dismiss the study as: “She would say that, wouldn't she?” Similarly, any study by David Reardon will be dismissed by the pro-abortionists. Reardon founded and runs the Eliot Institute, a small US think-tank, and views abortion as psychologically damaging.

There are studies that back both points of view; understandably in view of the methodological difficulties involved. To get a final answer one would need to know the reasons for each abortion, have a psychological profile of each of the women involved before and after her abortion, and create a control group with which to compare them.
Related Links

* Abortion does not harm mental health, says study

In practice this is impossible. Do women become depressed because they have had an abortion, or have an abortion because they have good reasons for being depressed? The bulk of the best available evidence suggests that a single abortion does not carry psychological hazards greater than does a completed pregnancy - which may also trigger depression. But the APA report is less certain over the risks of multiple abortions.

Will anti-abortionists be convinced? Certainly not. But it may influence the uncommitted, including MPs who may be faced with attempts to change the law by requiring counselling for women seeking abortions.

[Captured: 18 August 2008 12:52:08]

Abortion does not harm mental health, says study - Times Online ... 553533.ece

Abortion does not harm mental health, says study
Mark Henderson, Science Editor

Women do not put their mental health at risk by having an abortion, according to an authoritative study that will undermine the campaign to tighten the UK's abortion laws.

A comprehensive review of research by the American Psychological Association (APA), one of the world's most influential mental health bodies, found no evidence that the majority of abortions cause psychiatric problems.

By challenging a key scientific argument for reform, the findings will hinder the latest effort to make it harder for British women to obtain terminations, which is to be debated by the House of Commons in October.

Anti-abortion MPs have tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would require all women to be counselled about psychiatric risks before they can be cleared to have a termination. They cite research suggesting that mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are more common among women who have had abortions.
Related Links

* Abortion study may sway those who change our laws

* Tories signal new battleground

* MPs to vote on cutting abortion time limit

The APA report said that the findings of such studies were unreliable because they either failed to distinguish between abortions of wanted and unwanted pregnancies, or they did not consider factors such as poverty and drug use that raise the likelihood both of having an abortion and suffering mental illness.

The APA found “no credible evidence” that single abortions could directly cause mental health problems among adults with unwanted pregnancies. It called for more well-designed studies to investigate the issue.

Even the evidence for adverse psychiatric effects of multiple abortions was equivocal, it found. Higher rates of mental illness among such women could be explained by social factors, such as poverty or drug use that also put them at higher risk of unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

Brenda Major, who chaired the task force, said: “The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy.

“The evidence regarding the relative mental health risks associated with multiple abortions is more uncertain.”

The report, which was published last week at the APA's annual conference in Boston, found evidence that women who had late abortions because of foetal abnormalities often suffered adverse psychological reactions, similar to those experienced by women who had miscarried or had a stillbirth. These effects, however, were seen among women who had lost a wanted pregnancy, and should not be extrapolated to those who chose to terminate for other reasons. They were also less serious than those seen in women who gave birth to infants with life-threatening defects.

The majority of UK abortions meet the criteria for which the APA said there are no attested psychiatric risks. About 90 per cent are conducted in the first trimester to end unwanted pregnancies, and two thirds of the abortions carried out in England and Wales last year were for women who had not had one before.

The results are significant, because after the defeat in May of attempts to reduce the 24-week time limit for terminations anti-abortion campaigners are now demanding mandatory psychiatric counselling and a “cooling-off period”.

Supporters pointed to research such as a New Zealand study led by David Ferguson, of Christchurch School of Medicine, which found in 2006 that women who had had abortions had an elevated risk of mental health problems. The study prompted a group of doctors led by Patricia Casey, of University College, Dublin, to write to The Times: “Since women having abortions can no longer be said to have a low risk of suffering from psychiatric conditions such as depression, doctors have a duty to advise about long-term adverse psychological consequences of abortion.”

In March, Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP who led attempts to reduce the time limit to 20 weeks, said: “We now know that abortion leads to depression and mental health problems in later life, along with other complications in future pregnancies.”

The Ferguson study was among those whose design was criticised by the APA review, in this case because it did not distinguish between abortions of wanted and unwanted pregnancies.

The APA's conclusions matched those of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee, which last year found no evidence for psychiatric damage caused by abortion. The Royal College of Psychiatrists also considered research inconclusive.

Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which provided 55,000 abortions in 2007, said: “Abortion research is highly politicised, but large, high-quality studies consistently show that having an abortion does not result in psychological damage.”

Mrs Dorries said: “If this rehashed, inconclusive and dated research is being used to deny women in the UK who seek an abortion the right to counselling, then it's a fairly desperate act on behalf of the abortion industry and those who wish to deny women the right to make a fully informed decision.”

* Have your say

When will these anti abortionists stop interfering in other peoples lives and finally realise that it is far more harmful to bring into this world an unwanted child - both for the mother and the child.
It is and always should be, the mothers choice without making it even more emotionally hard.

P Barrett, Valletta, Malta

[Captured: 18 August 2008 12:53:35]

Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Joined: February 27th, 2008, 12:17 pm

Re: Abortion

#63 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » August 18th, 2008, 1:03 pm

And a bit of extra info, from Deborah Kotz's blog, On Women:
I've no doubt that antiabortion groups will be sending out their own missives to dispute the findings of this review. That's because the findings apply only to a specific subgroup of those getting abortions: adult women with unplanned pregnancies, choosing to have a single abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. "The evidence is less clear" for teenagers, women who have multiple abortions, and those who have abortions later in pregnancy, admits [Brenda] Major. The report concedes: "A teenager who terminates her first pregnancy, for example, may experience different psychological effects compared to an adult woman who terminates a pregnancy after giving birth to several children."

And lingering distress can certainly occur for those who abort later after discovering that their fetus has a severe health problem like a malformed heart. According to one study cited in the review, those who aborted their pregnancies in these cases were more likely to be grieving months later than were those who gave birth to a healthy baby whose malformation had been misdiagnosed. [Amazing!] On the other hand, mothers who gave birth to babies who indeed had irreversible heart problems were the most likely to still be grieving.

Certain factors were found to increase the risk of lingering mental health effects ranging from higher stress levels to anxious feelings to full-blown depression:

• Being pressured into having an abortion when the pregnancy was wanted
• Not having adequate emotional support after the abortion
• Feeling the need to keep the abortion a secret from loved ones because of the stigma associated with it

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Re: Abortion

#64 Post by wizzy » August 22nd, 2008, 7:02 pm

Alan H wrote:In today's Times:
after the defeat in May of attempts to reduce the 24-week time limit for terminations anti-abortion campaigners are now demanding .... and a “cooling-off period”.
It's somewhat ironic in failing to reduce the time limit for abortions to demand that women have to spend a given length of time making the decision (assuming that's what they mean)

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