DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - A new study is alleging that "relief" is the most common emotion in women who have abortions, and the mainstream media is celebrating it.
The study, published Sunday in the academic journal Social Science & Medicine, purports that women do not regret their abortions. However, bias within the study and contrary evidence in other surveys contradict these results. This evidence is not being heard.
The analysis was conducted by the group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco, which typically produces research with a pro-abortion bias.
The study compares a group of women who had an abortion with a separate group of women who were unable to obtain one due to gestational age limits.
From 2008–2010, researchers sought participants at more than 30 abortion centers in 21 states and were able to convince 667 women who obtained an abortion to participate. However, these 667 women were only 38% of all the women they had asked to participate. This suggests the women who made themselves available to researchers may have had more decisional certainty or fewer moral qualms about their abortion, skewing the results.
The study tracked participants over a five-year time period. Over time, a significant percentage of the women who originally agreed to participate either could no longer be contacted or refused to answer follow-up surveys. The Social Science and Medicine article tries to downplay this fact. The subsequent lack of information further skews the results, as it is likely that women who disappeared from the survey were experiencing more psychological suffering than women who responded.
Another recent study adds to the body of research showing that some women do suffer psychologically after obtaining an abortion.
Last November, Paul Sullins of the Catholic University of America published an article in the Swiss journal Medicina. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent to Adult Health, Sullins found that any abortion increased the risk of depression, anxiety or suicidality, but the risk was much higher following an abortion of one or more wanted pregnancies. This study, and others like it, have received scant media coverage.
Janet Morana, co-founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign, reached out to Church Militant with this statement:
This study is flawed on so many levels. It was performed by pro-abortion researchers at pro-abortion facilities, and funded by pro-abortion foundations so there was never a chance it would result in any negative findings about abortion. But the fact is that abortion regret is real and it can be crippling. Rachel's Vineyard, a post-abortion healing program that is a ministry of Priests for Life, holds more than 1,000 weekend retreats annually and is present in 49 states and 70 countries. Silent No More has registered the testimony of thousands of women who regret their abortions, and these women have been speaking publicly about their experiences since 2003. Experience trumps rhetoric and biased studies. Abortion is physically and psychologically damaging to women.
Organizations like Silent No More and Rachel's Vineyard report that women do have very different experiences, as their testimonies reveal.
Jenn from Washington states: "For 19 years I carried this secret burden. I struggled with depression, rage and anxiety. I felt disconnected with people and extremely critical of myself and others. I couldn't bear it anymore."
Deborah from West Virginia explains:
Over the years, as a result of aborting my child, I have experienced overwhelming grief, pain, loss, embarassment, anxiety, fear and shame. But with God's help and good counseling, I was finally able to forgive myself and now experience peace that passes all understanding. My heart is healed at last — and I will be silent no more!
Cecilia from Florida testifies: "My life spiraled into a life of self-hatred, drugs, alcohol and wrong relationships. I ended up having three more abortions. Each time I felt like my life was being sucked out of me. I felt dead inside, empty. I hated myself and what I had become."
Shelley from California says: "I have regretted this now for 25 years. The pain is awful and I sometimes feel like I can't cope with the pain and guilt."
One woman, who regretted her abortion immediately, recounts:
The abortionist came into the room and began my abortion. The nurse was leaning over me ... she asked the doctor "Is something wrong?" He said, "It is trying to get away — I've tried three times!"
I was shocked!! What he said hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought, "It is trying to get away!" I started to pray and ask God to stop all this from happening — to not let it work — to let it fail — to put His hand in the way of the vaccum. I couldn't believe what I was doing! Seconds later, the abortionist said, "It's done." He put away his tools and left the room.
From that moment on I have regretted my abortion! I just wanted to run, to die ... I was angry! After the nurse left the room I started to cry. A part of me died in that room. I knew what I did was wrong. The "it" he was referring to was my baby!
[I] knew what I lost. I wanted to go back to that place and pull my baby out of the dumpster. My decision to have an abortion was final. It was over. I couldn't go back. If only I could live that day over again.
Unbiased social workers and crisis pregnancy volunteers have observed that in some women there is indeed an immediate feeling of relief after abortion. But, pro-life analysts note, this is a surface-level response to fear, like a thief not being caught after a home burglary, or like an addict after obtaining a fix. No woman, they maintain, could be free from adverse effects to having something done to them so contrary to her nature.