Saturday, October 01, 2022

October 1, 2002: Coerced Abortion Leads to Suicide

A smiling young white woman with long, straight blond hair, dressed in white graducation cap and gown
Stacy Zallie
Stacy Zallie, then a 20-year-old college student, wanted to become an elementary school teacher. Though she loved children and wanted to become a mother, she went to  Steven Chase Brigham's "American Medical Services" in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on July 6, 2001 for an abortion. According to a post by Stacy's family, she "was the victim of a coerced abortion, which violated her personal, moral and spiritual beliefs."

Please note that abortion advocates frequently boast about abortion clinics selling abortions to women in violation of their core beliefs rather than direct them towards the kind of help that won't damage their identities.

At Brigham's facility, Stacy was provided with a "Fact Sheet on Surgical Abortion" which did not address the risks of major depression or suicide but merely recommended that a patient should talk to a counselor or psychiatrist if she thought she needed help after the abortion.

Stacy kept the abortion a secret from her family, but they noticed behavior changes. Her parents arranged psychiatric care after Stacy took an overdose of pills. Four months later, without saying why, Stacy quit going to therapy and resumed her drinking binges. On October 1, 2002, mere days before she was to serve as a bridesmaid in her brother's wedding, Stacy took her own life after at least three failed prior attempts at suicide.

After learning of the abortion and Stacy's unbearable anguish afterward, her parents started the **Stacy Zallie Foundation** to provide post-abortion care so that nobody else's daughter suffers the fate their daughter did. The Zallie family takes no stand on abortion, seeking to keep their focus on providing desperately-needed aftercare to suffering women, regardless of politics, creed, or religion.

The Foundation also notes that there are known risk factors for a post-abortion mental health crisis:
  • Previous mental health issues
  • Being coerced or forced into the abortion
  • Having beliefs that abortion is wrong
  • Lack of family support
  • Abortion for fetal indications
The saddest thing to me about the Foundation is that -- likely to avoid political hot buttons -- it does not address the problem of high-risk women undergoing abortions without adequate counseling.

Abortion is associated with an increase in all forms of violent death: accident, homicide, and suicide. Other post-abortion suicides include:

  • "Sandra Roe," age 18, who killed herself using an unidentified means in April of 1971
  • Sandra Kaiser, age 15, who threw herself off an overpass into traffic in November of 1984
  • Carol Cunningham, age 21, who shut herself in her garage, ran her car, and died from the exhaust fumes in August of 1986
  • Arlin della Cruz, age 19, who hanged herself in the woods near her house in October of 1992
  • Haley Mason, age 22, who overdosed on pills and alcohol in April of 2001
  • Laura Grunas, age 30, who fatally shot her baby's father and then herself in August of 2006
Unfortunately a lot of the discussion about post-abortion suicide turns into a battle between prolifers pointing out the risk and abortion enthusiasts insisting that it doesn't exist. Since abortion enthusiasts also put forth other absurd claims -- such as the claim that 5,000 - 10,000 women were dying from botched abortions prior to legalization, the claim that Kermit Gosnell was "an outlier", and the claim that abortion doesn't impact future childbearing -- we have to look at their assertions with a jaded eye.

There is one aspect to abortion supporters' claims that is valid: When there is a post-abortion suicide, the woman is usually a patient who already had emotional, mental health, or relationship problems. However, instead of trying to steer those women towards mental health support, they blithely assure them that the abortion will be either a non-event or a cause for unmitigated relief, take their money, get them onto the table, then send them home without a single thought to their future well-being.  They're just as oblivious of whether the woman takes her own life as they are of whether she bleeds to death after they shove her out the door.

It's quite likely that the link between abortion and suicide is largely because of a common causality. After all, abortion and suicide are both drastic and irreversible approaches to distressing circumstances. Thus, women actively seeking abortions rather than practical and emotional support when distressed by a pregnancy are probably also more likely to seek suicide rather than practical and emotional support when distressed after the abortion. I would expect this to be especially true when the woman reflects that the problems the abortion was supposed to solve are still troubling her. 

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