Monday, January 22, 2007
Recommended reading: The New York Times Magazine's cover story for Jan. 21, 2007, by Emily Bazelon, "Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?"
Thirty-four years ago this week, the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, and since then the American abortion wars have pitted the rights of “unborn babies” against those of living women. Rhonda Arias and a growing number of abortion-recovery activists want to dismantle that framework and replace it with this: Abortion doesn’t help women. It hurts them. With that conviction, these activists hope to accomplish what the anti-abortion movement has failed to do for more than three decades: persuade the “mushy middle” of the American electorate — the perhaps 40 to 50 percent who are uncomfortable with abortion but unwilling to ban it — to see that, for women’s sake, abortion should not be legal.
Bazelon writes about the schism this new approach intially created within the anti-choice movement in the 1980s and quotes C. Everett Koop's retort to anti-choice advocates who wanted to focus on the woman's emotional pain, rather than on the fetus: “As soon as you contaminate the morality of your stand by getting worried about the health effects of abortion on women, you have weakened the whole thing." Her article reminds readers that "the idea that abortion is at the root of women’s psychological ills is not supported by the bulk of the research. Instead, the scientific evidence strongly shows that abortion does not increase the risk of depression, drug abuse or any other psychological problem any more than having an unwanted pregnancy or giving birth."
For more information on scientific studies debunking the myth of "post-abortion syndrome," see the National Abortion Federation's factsheet, "Abortion Myths: Post-Abortion Syndrome."