Monday, August 18, 2008

Proposed South Dakota Abortion Ban Invokes Discredited "Post-Abortion Syndrome" Claim

Voting The discredited claim that abortion causes mental trauma (see previous post) is one of the arguments being used to bolster a ballot initiative that will go before South Dakota voters this fall.  The proposed measure would ban all abortions except in cases of rape or incest or where the abortion would cause the woman's death or grave physical harm.  Here's a paragraph from an anti-choice strategy memo supporting the measure (emphasis added):

The 2005 HB 1233 [South Dakota] Task Force Bill has resulted in powerful and factually accurate findings concerning how abortion has harmed the rights, interests and health of women. It is a second tool, and taken together, the Informed Consent Law, the litigation and its defense, and the TASK FORCE REPORT form a solid foundation for the proposed Abortion Bill.

The initiative itself states that "abortion subjects the pregnant woman to significant psychological and physical health risks."  (The full text is available here.)

See also Medical News Today: Opponents Of South Dakota Abortion Ban Launch Campaign:

Opponents of a South Dakota abortion ban ballot proposal launched a national campaign Tuesday that aims to defeat the measure, the AP/Yankton Press and Dakotan reports (Jalonick, AP/Yankton Press and Dakotan, 8/13). The proposal, which will be on the state's ballot in November, would ban abortions except in cases of rape or incest, to save a woman's life or a "substantial and irreversible" health risk of impairment to "a major bodily organ or system" (Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 8/12).

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Mental health experts agree that abortion is not harmful to mental health. But when a woman chooses abortion in spite of her belief that it is a sin, it can result in depression and anxiety, resolvable through therapy or -- in the case of the SD abortion ban leaders -- activism. In October 2006, at a SD abortion ban rally, each and every leader of the movement came to the microphone and confessed their personal abortion histories. It was amazing. And enlightening, as to motive. ALL, including Leslie Unruh, had undergone abortions, violating their own belief system. Each then experienced a sense of alienation from humanity and from God. The one male speaker experienced similar suffering after his girlfriend had an abortion, which he had supported. This group's "therapy" has been to band together to prevent others from doing what they did. In expiation, they have spent their money and energy to oppose other women's right to choose. Consider the motivation -- it's all about them, their suffering, their need. Sorry, I can't vote against all women's rights to assuage the guilt of a few for whom abortion was the wrong choice.

Posted by: Catherine Ratliff, JD, NCC | Aug 22, 2008 6:03:33 AM

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