‘New facts’ in abortion debate

In recent years I’ve tried to track the long slow path to easing the bans on abortion in both parts of Ireland. And while I support it, I know full well it is no magic bullet so to speak. And so in the cause of disinterested debate and acknowledging the existence of many awkward facts, I draw attention to this anti-abortion article by Ruth Cullen in the Irish Times. I suspect this is no clincher and I’d be keen to hear the pro-choice reply.  Does she fear a government initiative?

 

 

The court decided that Ireland’s pro-life amendment permitted legal abortion in circumstances where there was “a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother”.

It further ruled that these circumstances included the threat of suicide.

However, the court heard no medical evidence on the question of whether abortion protected women from suicide. And increasingly, we are seeing medical research demonstrating that far from protecting women from suicide, abortion increases the risk that women will suffer grave mental health problems.

For example, the widely publicised Finnish study, which appeared in the European Journal of Public Health, showed that there was a significantly increased risk of suicide among women who had abortions.They were six times more likely to commit suicide compared with those who had their babies.

Research carried out recently by Dr David Fergusson in New Zealand and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that, compared to other women, there was a 30 per cent greater risk of mental health complications among women who had abortions.

 

 

 

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  • Irishlassabroad

    Correlation does not always mean causation. I would be interested to explore the underlying reasons why these women felt the abortion was the best answer – potential financial difficulties, abuse etc etc. Abortion is often the last resort for a woman with multiple problems all of which could be risk factors for suicide.

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    Oh, for God’s sake. Now that the spurious breast cancer link has been roundly debunked they’re back to trying to protect our *mental* health from the consequences of our own decisions.

  • socaire

    AS a good friend of Ireland once said “Murder is murder is murder” whether it’s shooting a peeler in the back or vacuuming a living human being out of a woman’s stomach.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ireland only has to look at England to see the future: forty-five years after the inception of the 1967 Abortion Act have only produced one thing; that after 7.5 million abortions, they are a nation of old people who have to make up the numbers by immigration. Compare this situation with that in the Republic of Ireland. They had no abortion to any extent and the result is that the Irish are a nation of young people. The median age of Ireland is 34.6 years. 40 percent of the population is under 25 years. Ireland has a future. Britain’s future is being disposed of as medical waste, a socially corrupting human sacrifice, offered up on the altar of selfishness and hedonism and justified by the self-delusional concept of self-fulfilment. And this is the reason that the Irish will not legalise abortion; because they want to survive as a nation; because they can see all too clearly the murderous, vice ridden hell that has been created in England. Because it is wrong in Christian terms, in philosophical terms, in human terms and in terms of self interest.

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    Here’s an overview of December’s review of the evidence on the mental health consequences of abortion (done for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and funded by the Department of Health):

    http://www.rcog.org.uk/what-we-do/campaigning-and-opinions/statement/rcog-statement-induced-abortion-and-mental-health-revi

    ‘When a woman has an unwanted pregnancy, current evidence suggests that the rates of mental health problems will be unaffected whether the pregnancy is terminated or goes on to birth. ‘

  • Scáth Shéamais

    The anti-choice movement really are grasping at straws at this point – now they’re resorting to the patronising and dubious claim that preventing women from having control over their own bodies is really for their own good.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    The median age of Ireland is 34.6 years. 40 percent of the population is under 25 years.

    According to the 2001 census, the median age in England is 37 years and over 30% of the population is under 25.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Ah Shéamais, the Lord loves a trier. In England maybe but not the English. Plenty of oldies not many sprogs.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    In England maybe but not the English.

    So what?

  • jthree

    “…they can see all too clearly the murderous, vice ridden hell that has been created in England.’

    I mentioned the very same thing to my good friends as I was dancing at the crossroads at Moyross in Limerick this weekend. There were comely maidens and sturdy children all over the place.

  • quality

    Scáth Shéamais

    Freedom of movement just isn’t natural, we should all stick to our own. Or something like that.

  • socaire

    jthree, I hope yer mammy explained to you how comely maidens get pregnant and how to pay for them to go to England to get the babies killed?

  • jthree

    ‘I hope yer mammy explained to you how comely maidens get pregnant and how to pay for them to go to England to get the babies killed?’

    Wha’?

  • The Raven

    Socaire, have you ever had to be party to the decision whereby people have to pay for, and take, that journey? If not, can I assume that you’re taking a moral high ground here without very much in the way of actual knowledge…?

  • Comrade Stalin

    terence,

    The median age of Ireland is 34.6 years. 40 percent of the population is under 25 years.

    You don’t think that this might be partially explained by emigration during most of the late 20th century by any chance ?

  • Stephen Blacker

    This is a very emotive issue to say the least, no matter what arguement either side comes up with the opposing side will reject it. I believe every pregnancy is unique and there cannot be a standard process that fits all.

    I saw this video on a Facebook page and I thought it would be worth posting on this thread.

    To abort must be the decision of the woman involved.

  • BluesJazz

    The ‘Morning After’ or rather ”48 Hours After’ pill is easily available. If it was available in vending machines, like condoms, then situation solved. The patent having run out, it should be £1. A lot cheaper than the easyjet flight to Glasgow or Liverpool. And no ethical issues involved.

  • socaire

    Not being a woman of child bearing age leaves me at a disadvantage when it comes to comment but surely not getting pregnant in the first place is a simpler way than killing a baby……no? Are any of the churches in favour of child killing?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Not being a woman of child bearing age leaves me at a disadvantage when it comes to comment but surely not getting pregnant in the first place is a simpler way than killing a baby……no?

    Ah sure, they’re all slappers.

  • socaire

    No! but they’re all careless.

  • The Raven

    Seriously, Socaire, you’ve said your bit. You’re bordering on the offensive now.

  • BluesJazz

    Surely, as condoms are easily available, morning, or even week after pills should be cheaply available. A zygote is not a human. Unless you think ‘every sperm is sacred’ . Though getting free social housing is the popular alternative, and you don’t even have to declare the father (assuming they know who it is.). They can move in later. And it’s a very popular alternative, even if the taxpayer has to chump up. ‘The Estate’ on BBC tonight showed the reality. Cuo Bono?

  • Harry Flashman

    I have known, off the top of my head about two dozen or so women who got pregnant outside of marriage (occasionally within marriage too, come to that) who considered abortion as a serious option. About two thirds opted to keep the baby, the remainder opted for abortion.

    The women who kept their babies, without exception, are happy that they did so. They look at their children and express amazement that they ever thought of aborting them. Sure the mothers didn’t always have it easy, they often had it tough, they probably love their children more so for that hardship.

    The women who had abortions, without exception, bitterly regret having done so. Some to the point of severe medical problems including self harm, alcohol abuse and depression, none of which to my knowledge they suffered from at the time of the pregnancy.

    I admit this is an entirely unscientific survey, the sampling is by no means statistically sound. But I’ll bet Tatersalls to a tin can that all of you who have known women in the same situation would find exactly the same thing.

    Has anyone ever met a woman who regretted giving birth to her child? Has anyone ever met a woman who has been perfectly happy and content with the abortion she had? If there are such women I would suggest that they are the women who are psychiatricaly disturbed not the other way around.

  • terence patrick hewett

    @ Shéamais: In a spirit of exactitude, if you consult Wolfram-Alpha you will find the 2010 population figures for England: and these are the Median age for England is 40.2 years not 37 years and the percentage of the population under 25 years is 6.6% not 30% as you quote.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    I’m not sure where Wolfram Alpha get their stats, but according to the ONS under 25s are 31% of the English population. (That’s a report from 2010 studying stats from 2007.)

  • jthree

    ‘I’m not sure where Wolfram Alpha get their stats, but according to the ONS under 25s are 31% of the English population. (That’s a report from 2010 studying stats from 2007.)’

    Enough of your facts, Poindexter. Yer man has read something on that internet which supports his hysterical Brit-bashing, bordeline racist thesis which is all he needs.

  • claudius

    Harry – I personally know 3 women who have had abortions. None of them regret it. Also, you state about no women regretting having a child. What about women who put their kids up for adoption

  • Ouroborous

    I think this might not be a cause and effect mechanism, but perhaps the social conditions that led to abortion also led to suicide.

    If they’re both the Woman’s choice, then the argument should be confined to dealing with the social conditions causing both.

    Presumably dealing with those issues more effectively would reduce abortion and suicide rates?

    If abortion is not an available choice……..is there a higher rate of suicide among pregnant women compared to places where abortions are available?

    The issue in these places is also to deal with the social circumstances that led to suicide, abortion doesn’t address these circumstances.

    I’m also wondering are there circumstances which increase likelihood of abortion without separately increasing the risk of suicide – number of children or economic considerations.

    The problem in this case would be, do people who abort for purely material consideration suffer worse mental health as a result? In which case – then there would be a causal association.

    But my main quesion is: Does anybody have a reference for the article in the European Journal of Public Health?

  • socaire

    Raven and you don’t find it offensive to kill a child, you pompous ass!

  • The Raven

    Well I wondered when you’d have to resort to name-calling.

    Simply put, socaire, I’ll take a guess and say you were never in the position to have to go through the procedure of abortion, or indeed the hand-wringing which goes with taking that decision, or even bring a third party to someone else’s decision to do so. If I’m wrong on any count, I apologise – which is more than I expect from you.

    I can tell you first hand that the decision to be party to abortion is not easy, it is not always because people have always been “careless” as you so glibly put it, and it is not because we’re all from some long, deep-seated line of chav-dom who don’t care.

    I’m never surprised at the pulpit pundits that emerge on threads like this. I am, however, surprised at the lack of input from women on such discussions, especially when a mainly male dominated, semi-theocratic, and let’s face it, almost minority Assembly is in power.

    There’s a perfect opportunity to have a proper debate on this, but unfortunately, that means leaving religion, Bernie McAllister and the politicians out of it. It is an opportunity to give women the choice to make decisions about their own bodies.

    I say this not taking into account some family or societal pressures, (note that I made that caveat before responding) but nobody these days forces anyone to have an abortion. If you don’t want one, don’t have one. If you do, then the option to do so, legally, without judgement, and without the Holy Bible hanging over you, should be available.

    So you may think I’m a pompous ass, socaire – but you are right on one count: ‘not being a woman of child bearing age leaves you at a disadvantage when it comes to comment.’ Distinctly so.

  • Tannhauser

    socaire – children aren’t aborted. Foetuses are aborted.
    And they don’t get aborted from a woman’s stomach… I’m no doctor, but I believe the embryo usually develops in the uterus. Correct me if I’m wrong, you do seem like an expert on the topic…

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    The Raven – your point about women not taking part in ‘such discussions’ is really interesting. If you mean discussions like this one, this reflects the fact that there aren’t many women commenting on blogs like slugger. There is of course a massive women’s blogosphere and a (not necessarily overlapping) feminist blogosphere in which these conversations go on all the time with barely a man in sight. In my opinion the basic issue is that anything perceived as a ‘women’s issue’ is not categorized under ‘politics’ in the minds of our politicians, the (mostly male) people who manage to maintain any interest in our politicians, or the majority of women, who don’t recognise that their problems are political problems until it’s too late and they’ve got their hands full with the double shift.

  • socaire

    Tannhauser, you have heard the expression used by women prisoners – to plead their belly? If ‘foetuses’ remain fair game as they are not viable out side the womb, when do born foetuses become viable? Sorry Raven but wishy washiness I do not like.

  • Comrade Stalin

    “If you mean discussions like this one, this reflects the fact that there aren’t many women commenting on blogs like slugger.”

    They’re probably all in the kitchen.

  • The Raven

    Indeed, socaire. It appears you’re none too liberal on allowing women the freedom to make their own choices either. Nicely dodged.

  • Ouroborous

    Are people equally pro-choice about suicide as they are abortion?

    I’m guessing the answer is a little more clearly yes for pro-life (the answer’s in the name), but I can’t see a clear line, or where you should put it to be honest.

    Comrade Stalin: Simple, but it’s a classic.

  • wee buns

    Reasons women steer clear of these ‘debates’:

    The issue is always reduced to a polarized emotive drama (a bit like discussions on the north come to think of it….)

    The complexity of mother and child as a biological unit & their welfare inextricably linked is the most overlooked fact by the majority of men who do not have an equivalent biological hardwiring.

    A child’s dependency period is 18 yrs generally and debate always neglects the gravity of this commitment in relation to a woman’s circumstances.

    Many moons ago I engaged in verbal exchange with a pro life activist who pontificated on the streets of Dublin complete with props, a big statue of Mary & photocopied images of a fetus. My question was, after you’ve ‘saved’ these unborn, that some women feel they cannot support, do you then feed, clothe, love and support these lives for the requisite decades?
    Never forget his fickle reply – ‘Oh there are other agencies who do that’.
    Well we all know now the job of ‘care’ provided there.

  • Irishlassabroad

    Just wanted to remind you that the first commentor on the blog was a woman of child bearing potential! But yes this blog as most others are male dominated, but then so was my politics class at Queens!

  • wee buns

    Irishlassabroad
    ‘’Correlation does not always mean causation. I would be interested to explore the underlying reasons why these women felt the abortion was the best answer – potential financial difficulties, abuse etc etc. Abortion is often the last resort for a woman with multiple problems all of which could be risk factors for suicide.’’

    A voice of reason and indeed rightly asks for deeper (..er…any)exploration into circumstances….
    The suicide research certainly does not correlate into causation, as it’s very rare for a mother esp of young children, to commit suicide because of her biological bond which is hardwired to protect survival of the young.
    Again, while this type of research is being presented as fact, serious, numerous & untold risks to mother/ child unit are ignored.

  • separatesix

    Ireland portrays itself as a modern European country yet I can’t believe abortion is still banned in 2012 and they only legalized divorce in the Republic in the 1990’s.

  • ForkHandles

    its not really surprising that women that have abortions suffer mental problems afterwards. there are many phrases and terms that the pro-abortion people use. but at the end of the day, the women that have abortions have decided to kill their own unborn child because they couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of putting themselves out to the extent of raising that child. when the event has been done and they really get a chance to think of what they have done, they realise that they have killed their own child out of their own selfishness. that is a horrifying thing for someone to realise. imagine trying to live after realising you had killed your own child because you were only thinking of yourself?
    you see, all this “its a women’s choice” “its my body” “terminate the foetus” “end the pregnancy” etc etc are just terms and phrases that the selfish world like to use to get rid of a problem that they don’t want to have to deal with. its the sad harsh truth of a secular world that sees life as only an animal that has come into existence from some chance interaction of molecules. No soul, no person there at all. It’s a totally cold and heartless way of thinking. Because of their selfishness they don’t want to believe that there is any value in life, so its ok to kill a life if the mother doesn’t want to bother having to raise the child.
    Don’t agree with that and you are an atheist? Try to make the argument that abortion is murdering an unborn child? You can’t can you? We are all just animals and it’s the law of jungle if you live or die right? Try telling that to a mother that killed her own child and is suffering the mental torment from that act? Or maybe that’s all too much for you and you just want to brush it under the carpet with a smart comment?

  • wee buns

    ForkH
    ‘’It’s a totally cold and heartless way of thinking. Because of their selfishness they don’t want to believe that there is any value in life, so it’s ok to kill a life if the mother doesn’t want to bother having to raise the child.’’

    What is cold, heartless and ultimately selfish is that you reduce all women’s reasons for having a termination to ‘doesn’t want to bother’.
    Many of these women ‘didn’t want to bother’ with being impregnated by a family member at a young age, but it’s not like they had a choice in the matter.

    There are some circumstances where a child is actually better off not being born, where vulnerable women/girls are unable to protect themselves, never mind a new human life.

    But don’t bother your head with that reality; it’s obviously too complex.

  • Harry Flashman

    You do realise wee buns that the number of women seeking abortion because they were “impregnated by a family member at a young age” is negligible. Most women seeking abortions are adult women who simply don’t wish to go through with an inconvenient pregnancy.

    I’m making no value judgment on such women but it doesn’t help an argument if you have to rely on rather sensationalised emotionalism to make your point.

  • wee buns

    You do realize Harold that my highlighting pregnancy through rape or incest is to present grounds for abortion being justified under certain circumstances but also to say that those who get all moralistic about the rights of the unborn are usually the prime candidates of ignoring the immorality of how women are mistreated, and how the children of such women are abused.

    ‘’Most women seeking abortions are adult women who simply don’t wish to go through with an inconvenient pregnancy. ‘’

    Until you produce a more thorough exposé of what is meant by ‘inconvenient’ circumstances, your point is negligible. In my experience it’s not a decision that women take flippantly, as is being argued above.