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In what my husband, at least, regards as a masochistic quest to understand the phenomenon of abortion in America, I watched yet another documentary, this one entitled “Hush.” In it, a pro-choice director, Punam Kumar Gill, investigate the question of whether the health effects of abortion on the women who have them are being generally, even systematically distorted or concealed.
The short answer, it seems, is yes. The supposedly debunked link between abortion and breast cancer hasn’t been debunked at all. And there are excellent reasons to believe that abortion rates explain why our neonatal intensive care units are full of wanted infants delivered too soon. There are also (duh) clear links between abortion and increased vulnerability to mental illness in women. Why aren’t women warned about these risks?
It can’t just be that the data is inconclusive. There are many dangers that are unproven — mere correlation, not proven causality — that we are given urgent warnings about, and told we must make adjustments or even significant sacrifices to protect ourselves from even remote risks. Don’t use plastic in the microwave! Discard your kitchen sponge! Coat your entire body with SPF 50 every day! And, of course, don’t smoke or drink, and for God’s sake, lose some weight and take a walk!
As Gill, to her credit, repeatedly makes clear, “choice” is meaningless unless it is a truly informed choice. If breast cancer, depression or premature deliveries are part of a woman’s family medical history, for example, the possibility that abortion would increase those risks could (and even should) tip the balance in favor of her choosing to continue the pregnancy, for her own sake (if not for the sake of the baby). Given what the data shows, even if it cannot be called “settled science” the way, say, the melting of the polar ice caps can, wouldn’t any responsible doctor want to take a medical history that reveals these risk factors, and introduce them into the cost-benefit analysis that pre-abortion counseling of panicked (if no less “trustworthy”) pregnant women presumably entails?
And surely any truly comprehensive sex education program should include information about these risks, even if they aren’t proven 100 percent, if the aim is to empower young people to make good, healthy decisions about their bodies and lives? My denomination will happily frighten its youth into believing that the sight of a deer in the backyard is a harbinger of doom; wouldn’t you imagine they’d be willing to say “oh, and by the way … it is possible that having an abortion increases your risk of breast cancer, depression, and premature birth?”
Gill is an honest storyteller, and she really does go where the facts lead her. That’s impressive. To her great credit, she documents exactly how strenuously the scientific establishment protects abortion from inconvenient truths; she does not spend as much time as she might on the question of why this is happening.
She primarily ascribes it to the anxiety pro-choice advocates and abortion providers feel over the imminent threat Pro-Lifers pose to a woman’s right to choose.
And indeed, “protecting choice from those religious nutters” is probably the motivation when it comes to physicians, journalists, public health advocates, state regulators and other groups that are not directly concerned with abortion, and yet nonetheless are found helping to maintain the manifold deceptions that the abortion industry demands — e.g., parroting the line that late-term abortion is rare and only used when the mother’s life or health is endangered or the baby is catastrophically deformed.
Because everyone would prefer to believe this to be the case, Americans, in general, go along with it too. Invited not to think too much about the grubby details, we … don’t. Then we dress in pink, join in those “Awareness” 5k fun runs, and encourage our friends and relations to have mammograms and donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation.
However, to put it mildly, this culture of defensive deception is putting the lives of women (as well as babies) in jeopardy.Published in Healthcare
What an appropriate title for the documentary.
First of all I would like to commend you for your search to thoroughly understand this issue.
I saw a statistic that 45% of abortions are repeat abortions. Click on the link.
There is a mental health aspect to abortion. There is help available to women, and men that have suffered mental health problems as a result of the decision to obtain an abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard offers retreats and counseling. Link
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
At one time only a bishop could forgive the sin, but now all priests may do so, with the understanding that the penitent is to be counseled about the gravity of the offense.
Wow, I just read about this documentary about an hour ago, finally catching up on my reading of the Human Life Review‘s Fall 2017 issue.
“Legal Abortion Threatens Health and Fertility: Why Aren’t Women Informed?” by Raymond J. Adamek starts on p. 27
Thanks for telling me it’s available on Prime.
This is a website sponsored by Preterm, an abortion provider in Ohio that apparently prides itself on it’s progressivism (it is a “Green Clinic!” so you can get environmentally-sensitive “care”…) The link is to a sort of blog in which women who have had abortions can talk about them. It makes for difficult but enlightening reading: does it not strike anyone at the clinic that all the stories are more or less (and usually more) awful?
One story is about a wanted baby who develops fatal birth defects in utero. The rest are just…the result of messy, incoherent, abusive, unpleasant and wasteful lives. As someone here at Ricochet once pointed out, abortion doesn’t solve any of those underlying problems. The abusive or disdainful ex is still abusive and disdainful. The feckless father is at least as feckless, the financial issues, drug problems or family conflicts are still there. The abortion solves nothing.
The second (and third and fourth) abortions are significant, I think. First, it is clearly not the case that a woman who chooses abortion thereby discovers her own agency and power. Indeed, I would argue that the repeat abortion is a sign that the original abortion caused moral pain that she will seek to anesthetize by repeating or increasing reckless behavior.
Oooh, if you watch it, let me know what you think!
It’s possible that whether the data is inconclusive depends on your point of view. As you point out, we treat a lot of data that really is inconclusive as de-facto “conclusive” through alarmism, or, if not alarmism, extreme risk aversion. But that doesn’t mean such a treatment of data is right, in the sense of helping us arrive at the truth.
For example, with this correlation, wouldn’t it matter which way the causality typically goes?:
Is it “crazy women have more reckless sex, leading to pregnancies they can’t handle” or is it “women who would otherwise be perfectly sane go crazy after abortions”? I don’t doubt both directions can happen, but I suspect the “abortion because crazy” is the more typical scenario.
Incidentally, since the choice is not between abortion and never having been pregnant in the first place, but between abortion and (assuming no natural miscarriage) birthing the child, the health effects of abortion ought to be compared to the health effects of pregnancy and childbirth – and especially when you consider women who abort are more likely to have had problem pregnancies, ought to be compared, when relevant, to the health effects of having a problem pregnancy.
Problem pregnancies can be such a [redacted] [redacted] [redacted with extreme prejudice] miserable experience that I’m not sure it’s honest to sell the pregnancy (and postpartum period, too, whether or not the child is adopted by another family at birth) as “better for your health!” Maybe it remains most honest to admit carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term can feel more like “punishment” than “health enhancement”, but it’s a sacrifice that should be made for the baby.
I have a dear friend who has spent time on the front lines outside the abortion clinic. She told me about a conversation with a counter-(pro-choice) protester young woman. She was leading a pretty aimless life (as you can imagine) and was advocating birth control in addition to abortion, but she was also vegan and an environmentalist. My friend pointed out the incongruity of insisting on never putting an animal product in your body, but taking man-made birth control pills in violation of the nature of her own fertility.
People are rational opportunists, when we’re rational at all, and we’re really bad at risk assessment.
The lie inherent in abortion is that it’s “good” for women. That it’s harmless to them. That it solves their problem(s). That it’s a benign surgical procedure. All lies.
Hmmm, I wonder if the baby counts as the “environment?” Thanks Kate, this makes my stomach tighten and I feel if I say more the CoC lighting bolt will be all over me.
Interesting post – thanks, Kate.
I find it very revealing that the pro-abortion crowd employ euphemisms and misleading terms to obscure the realities of what’s taking place. The term “pro-choice”, for starters, but it’s a long list. Then there’s the shiny objects to be waved around to distract from what’s taking place: personhood, women’s rights….
Gosh, it’s almost as if everyone knows what’s really going on – the taking of a human life. We all want to believe that we value human life, hence the need to sugar-coat, obscure, hide, and distract so we can all go on with thinking we’re decent people in a decent society.
That’s not been my impression of those women I know who have had abortions. Granted, these are all women who regret that action and who have all been active, in varying degrees, in pro-life activities and ministries. Most of them came from fairly ordinary backgrounds and were not crazy – just susceptible, for a variety of reasons, to the message the culture sells, namely, that sex is primarily recreational (not procreative); that refraining from sex makes one a prude and repressed wierdo; and that abortion is a convenient, harmless backup in case the contraception fails (if used).
Thanks for the ongoing inquiry, Kate!…Tried to reach you over the weekend; looking forward to a brief chat when you can.
True, though I wasn’t addressing all women who had abortions, or all women who’ve had abortions and later regretted it, but specifically those who experienced mental illness post-abortion. Regret isn’t a mental illness – it’s an appropriate reaction to having done something regrettable.
Which isn’t to say having had an abortion isn’t stressful. But so is giving a baby up for adoption or being an unwed mother. It seems wise to tell girls before they’re sexually active that all means of resolving a problem pregnancy are stressful, and abortion is no exception. But I don’t think it’s quite right to conflate avoiding a regret we want to attach to abortion (a regret whose possiblity we hope will serve as a deterrent) with avoiding stress or avoiding health complications.
Well, this article refers to a study done in Britain, which found that having an abortion raised a woman’s risk of suicide by 155%. A similar American study which was done apparently found no increase, but the lack of curiosity is striking, especially from people who claim that their mission in life is caring about women.
Of which 10% of the risk was attributed to abortion in that study, and thus 90% to other factors, suggesting the causality I proposed in comment #7. (“Nearly 10 percent of the problems could be attributed to abortion, the authors concluded.”)
There have been several studies which found no significant increase. But that’s OK! Plenty of things that aren’t morally bad could lead to insanity, including carrying a child to term. So it’s hard to distinguish abortion from other things that way.
On the other hand, regret after an abortion seems like a sign of relative sanity, at least compared to a conscience incapable of doubting it did the right thing.
Ok, but in modern Western society, there is a great deal of overlap between “mental health problems” and unhappiness. So much so, that some in the mental health field have no interest whatsoever in dealing with mentally ill people: they only want to deal with those who are merely unhappy. To be fair, the line between depressed and unhappy is kind of blurry. I guess you could say, well, no abortion won’t lead to an increase in depression, it may lead to becoming totally miserable, but many people would ask, what is the difference?
I think we need a lot more studies on this. Most of those who support abortion seem to think that none are necessary. Don’t you find their lack of curiosity curious?
We’re not in disagreement. My observation above was in reaction to your statement that you suspected that “abortion because crazy” was the more typical scenario.
I”m about halfway through right now.
Thank you again for letting me know I could watch it so instantly and easily!
One quick comment: Brind, Kahlenborn, Mosher: I have known of them since my salad days (when I was young and green), and read and followed all of them and their work. (Mosher’s PRI, in particular)
I am loving the way this woman is portraying them in order to allow the viewer to encounter them as intelligent people with possibly something to say for women, rather than the distorted view so often shown of them (misogynists, haters, bigots, religious wack-jobs, etc.).
It is kind of breathtaking that she is able to see and value their humanity, because so frequently pro-choice people are unable to do that with either pro-lifers or the unborn.
Edit: That has been my experience, at least. Also, I have had direct experience trying to discuss these health risks of abortion and hormonal contraception on breast cancer and premature birth with pro-choice women I know and love and have gotten nowhere because they are able to angrily dismiss me. It can be really horrible how they dehumanize you, so that is why it is so breathtaking.
One more thing: I cannot find anything at all on IMDB about this film. There are multiple films called “Hush” but not this one.
Wow. That was great.
I can totally get behind that film and message.
I really liked the artwork at the end too.
What we can reasonably posit, I think, is that if one has a mental health issue, abortion doesn’t make it better. Now, arguably nor does giving birth to an unwanted baby. But as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, “unwanted” is in the changeable eye of the beholder; the kid that is unwanted when conceived is often very much wanted when born. (And then, when the same said kid is 13, not so much.)
The film lets us see that the “data” on the non- effects of abortion on mental health is carefully curated: it would seem that a single, early abortion on an otherwise healthy woman doesn’t do too much damage. Fair enough. It wouldn’t surprise me if the very early (before 8 weeks) miscarriage of a wanted pregnancy could be demonstrated to create less intense or prolonged parental grief (on average) than a miscarriage that takes place in the second or third trimester. This is not evidence of the subjective reality or value of the embryo, merely an observation about how human beings develop relationships.
However, neither the early miscarriage of a known and wanted pregnancy nor an early abortion seems to be experienced as nothing. (The stories I linked to in #5 make that clear.) It is a very particular kind of experience, something that seems inevitably to change a young woman’s view of herself. The abortion industry would have us believe that the change can be positive; that only “stigma’ prevents it from being so.
I think we underestimate—possibly deliberately—the sometimes permanent effects of a moral wound. A friend of mine caught herself in the middle of an unserious conversation with her teenaged son about whether or not she was a good person. “Well, I’ve never killed anyone!” she told him.
Oh, wait. Yes I have.
It had been thirty years.
At least when it comes to the breast cancer risk, the film does compare abortion to pregnancy and childbirth.
Indeed, that’s sort of the whole point: when it comes to breast cancer, the problem (in theory) lies in exposing the body and, especially, the breast to estrogen and the resulting accelerated cell-division without providing the protective effect of lactation itself.
When it comes to premature delivery, the causative link would be found—again, in theory— in the practice of forcibly opening the cervix during an abortion, damaging the muscle and making it more prone to “incompetence” during subsequent, wanted pregnancies. That black women are disproportionately likely to experience abortion and breast cancer and premature birth may be down to some other cause. But the increase in breast cancer in young women and of premature births began in concert with the post-Roe increase in abortions.
As Judithann says:
absolutely agree. One of the things I’m pondering is how to get my church’s youth group sex ed classes to show this film, and also (important!) the Levantino videos on what a first, second and third trimester abortion actually is. I want these kids to have this information so that they will take the risk of pregnancy a lot more seriously than they are encouraged to do. (A surprising number of those “My Story” abortion testimonials involve birth control failures, and not just of the “operator error” variety.)
BTW, I had three first-trimester miscarriages, and I agree with your assessment, Kate. It’s most likely not nearly as psychologically rending as later-term losses, but it’s a loss nonetheless. And it’s how I know the D&E aspect of even early abortion is no walk in the park.
The women I know who have had abortions are all pro-choice; they are —at best—ambivalent and frequently very regretful, if not of the abortion itself, then of the behaviors that put them in a position where abortion was the “obvious” choice.
By the way—does anyone have a good link (preferably relatively “neutral”) on the amount of money involved in abortion?
This is important. Abortion isn’t presented as neutral. It is presented as a positive good. Since nothing is like pregnancy and childbirth—not physically, not morally, not psychologically, not spiritually— it is always difficult to compare having a baby with any other human activity, or having an abortion with any other medical procedure.
What I’d love to get my pro-choice friends to recognize, at some point, is how liberating abortion has been for men. Or rather for “men.”
OMG, yes! Let us know when you devise a method of persuasion. It seems obvious abortion contributes to the objectification of women (speaking of disempowering!), but that’s another aspect people are likely to deny for the sake of appetite and convenience.
The pro-life and Catholic websites I frequent all mention these risks all the time. They are not unknown. It’s the mainstream media that refuses to publish them, or at least present them front and center. Subscribe to Lifenews.com daily and assuredly you will get that information in an article in a week or so.
I would do a search on Lifenews.com. They put out a number of articles every day, I’m sure it’s been covered.
Edit: I guess that site wouldn’t be “neutral.”
Everything about the abortion industry is built on lies, from the fact that it’s not a human being (a clump of cells, my behind) to the fact that it’s not immoral to kill a person who has not reached consciousness, or whatever that word that’s been used, it escapes me right now. It’s all lies and that is how you know it comes from Satan, the father of lies.