Monday, February 07, 2005

JWR gets it wrong for a change

Mine Ener was a respected professor at Villanova University until a ferocious bout of postpartum psychosis led her in 2003 to kill her infant daughter, who was born with Down syndrome, and, later, herself. Grappling with how to memorialize Ener, the university decided to remove a recently hung plaque from a library study area and, instead, host a symposium to educate the public on the mental illness that led to these tragic deaths. I hope the U.S. Congress will be invited.

That's because, for years now, the U.S. House has delayed action on the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act, named for another young mother who killed herself in 2001 after the birth of her daughter. It's hard to understand who could be against legislation to fund research on postpartum depression and psychosis, and provide services for the families devastated by these related, but poorly understood, diseases.


Against the wishes of the sponsor, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D., Ill.), included in the hearing was discussion of another bill, on "post-abortion depression." I put those words in quotes because there's actually no scientific agreement that such a syndrome exists, and certainly no indication that it affects as many women and families as depression after childbirth.

Ms. Eisner rattles on more about how everybody has known since time immemorial that having a baby drives women off the deep end, and how benign abortion is. She concludes, "The politics of abortion have no place in honoring the memory of Melanie Blocker-Stokes or Mine Ener's baby, or the other babies whose births have caused so much suffering."

Get that: Babies whose births caused so much suffering. Blame the child. While ignoring the real threat to the mothers. So I penned a little response to Ms. Eisner:

RE: Pro-lifers shouldn't mix issues

Dear Ms. Eisner:

1. You wrote, "C. Everett Koop, when he was President Reagan's surgeon general (and personally opposed to abortion), concluded after an exhaustive study that the psychological effects of abortion are minuscule from a public health perspective."

Actually, this isn't true. If you check Congressional Record, you'll learn that Koop refused to write a report on abortion's effect on women. He felt that to do so would be abandoning the moral high ground of fighting abortion's effect on the fetus. When President Reagan insisted, Koop foisted the job off on an underling, George Walter. Walter asked a few prolife clergy for input, (ignoring the material provided to him by prolife physicians and Ph D's) but got the bulk of his "research" from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood. This is the equivalent of contacting the research department of R. J. Reynolds for information on second-hand smoke risks. Not surprisingly, Walter's report parroted propaganda that the AGI had been putting out for years, and ignored reams of research that painted abortion in a less than rosy light. Walter presented the report to Koop, who told him to shelve it. Instead, Walter released it with Koop's name on it. This little underhanded stunt allowed the abortion advocates to have a report putting out their propaganda under Koop's name. Nice work if you can get it.

2. Extensive research has shown that a woman is more likely to die in the year following abortion than in the year following childbirth. The rate of natural death was slightly higher. Post-abortion women were four times more likely to die of accidents than women who had given birth. After abortion, women were found to be seven times more likely to die by their own hand than were women who gave birth. The most shocking finding, however, was the especial vulnerability of post-abortion women to death by homicide in the year following their abortions. Post-abortion women were eight times more likely to be murdered in the year following their pregnancies than were women who gave birth.

If we're concerned about death risks to pregnant women and their children, clearly we can't ignore abortion per se, which always kills a child and which leaves the woman seven times more likely to take her own life. Only somebody with a political agenda that requires painting abortion in a rosy light could ignore the fact that of all pregnancy outcomes, it's the one with the documented most devastating effects on the woman's chances of survival.

Christina Dunigan


Silent Rain Drops said...

Excellent points, Christine. I am reading Dr. Burke's book, Forbidden Grief, in which she points out that the suicide statistics are record-based - comparing death records and abortion records for the same people. There can be no mistake about these numbers.

Dr. Burke suggests further that the increased rate of accidental death may be due to an increase in high-risk behaviors, or some may be unrecognized suicides.

I don't think any other kind of "medical treatment" carries these risks. People don't kill themselves after losing a tumor in surgery, for example, so it seems clear that we perceive the unborn child as something more than a clump of cells invading a woman's body, doesn't it?

I also wrote to this publication as you suggested, encouraging research into post-abortion depression. Thank you for the tip!

Naaman said...

Thanks for the tip. The article is truly obnoxious in its denial. I sent a note to JWR; we'll see if they choose to fix it.

Christina Dunigan said...

So far they've not taken it down, which surprises me. Usually they respond pretty quickly when it turns out one of their features is pro-abortion. But maybe they don't see it as promoting abortion. But how can painting childbirth as something that naturally causes women to go off the deep end, and babies as naturally likely to drive their mothers to suicide, not be proabortion?