Friday, 9 December 2011

Abortion better for you than eating apples, study (almost) concludes...

The ever-wonderful BBC has been trumpeting the news that a new study has shown that abortion has no worse effects on a woman than carrying a pregnancy to term.

Leave aside the effect on the child (death) and the effect on anyone else (siblings, father etc) for a moment.

Let's just examine that claim. Because even the BBC admit in their report: 'The scope of the review excluded reactions such as guilt, shame and regret - although these were considered important - and also assessments of mental state within 90 days of an abortion.'

Although these are important, we will exclude them. Why?

For a comprehensive list of studies reaching rather different conclusions, visit John Smeaton's blog.


Part-time Pilgrim said...

To be fair to the BBC, the Today programme coverage of this report pointed out that it undermined the basis on which almost all abortions are carried out in this country i.e. that the pregnancy threatened the mental health of the mother. The study might show that the mental health was no worse for women who had an abortion but it wasn't any better either.

Part-time Pilgrim said...

The website report makes the same point

Tuck said...

That is a very good point. As far as I remember - and please correct me if I am wrong - Abortion is still technically Illegal in the UK.

However there are a number (5 I think) of exemptions written into that law and which can be claimed in order to justify proceeding.

The biggest one is indeed that the mental health of the mother would be threatened (if she did not recieve one).

If research (that isn't flawed) were to indicate that there is little apparant difference between women who abort and those who carry to term then either

1. There is no risk of mental health issues compared with women who carry to term - therefore the use of that particular exemption is flawed in the majority of cases where such a risk cannot be fully and indisputibly evidenced.


2. The reason there is no major differentiation is that there is the same risk of mental health issues in both cases (possibly due to other external factors)

Therefore the use of abortion to 'prevent' them occuring is innefectual - meaning that the exemption is unjustified as, once again, there is no evidence that a benefit will be had unless an increased risk compared with other women in the same situation can be fully and indisputibly evidenced

Can't have it both ways.

Either there is no difference and both are at risk - therefore no justification, or neither are at risk - therefore no justification OR there is a difference (in terms of those who have had abortions) and therefore the proceedure is detrimental in itself.

No matter which set of studies you look at - it cannot be justified.

The interesting thing about exemptions to the law is that they are not in themselves conferring a right upon the public to have something. They are instead allowing something to happen that otherwise would not be allowed to happen.

They should therefore be subject to more stringent justification lest they are abused.

Of course we could just look at what happens to the child in terms of benefit - not being aborted - and detriment - being killed.

But that isn't a popular viewpoint these days.

Apologies for the rant - it's one of those topics.

Scout said...

I wonder whether you heard about the recent study published in 'The Lancet' urging nuns to put themselves on the pill:

Frederick Oakeley said...

Of course the medical establishment and the BBC have sold out to the abortionists. For them we are an odd minority and nothing must give any comfort to the pro-lifers.

Ben Trovato said...

P-t P

I think you are over-generous to the BBC. They do present counter-arguments, it is true, but they clearly have a bias: go back to Yes Minister's wonderful portrayal of BBC pro-(neutral) and anti- (neutral reporting: a fantastic analysis... Here the BBC is clearly pro the report.

It is also interesting to note that the article to which I linked (and you did too) has been extended since I first linked to it.

Tuck: my understanding is the same as yours, that David Steel's infamous Abortion Act of 67-68 provided exemption from prosecution for abortions in specific conditions. It was the overt intention at the time that this should be for a small number of hard cases. How different the application has been! It is also true that there is no 'right' to an abortion in British Law.

Scout: a bit of a red herring - I'll post on it separately.

FO: I agree with the tenor of your analysis: not sure about 'sold out' precisely. I think the process has largely been one of intellectual corruption and moral laziness and cowardice, rather than any complicity based on direct gain.