Michaelene Fredenburg had an abortion at age eighteen. She found the procedure ?painful and humiliating? and was left feeling ?violated and betrayed.? For years, she struggled with ?a cycle of self-destructive behavior,? including an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts. Nonetheless, some think that Fredenburg and others like her are making too big a deal out of their experiences.
Fredenburg testified recently at a congressional hearing on ?Improving Women?s Health: Understanding Depression after Pregnancy.? The hearing examined two related issues: postpartum depression, and what certain members of the congressional subcommittee kept referring to as ?so-called postabortion depression.? Two proposed bills were being discussed?bills that would increase funding for both conditions.
The first panel featured psychiatrist Dr. Nada Stotland, along with a mother whose daughter killed herself because of severe postpartum depression. They were given utmost respect by everybody, and rightly so. The second panel consisted of Michaelene Fredenburg, who now runs Life Resource Network in
For example, Representative Lois Capps (D) of
The consensus among the members was clear: Postabortion depression is an imaginary disease made up by pro-lifers. Dr. Stotland, the psychiatrist agreed that even if some women feel distraught after abortion, that doesn?t mean they?re mentally ill. And those feelings, she argued, are probably because of pre-existing circumstances, like an abusive partner: Abortion, in comparison, is a minor event that?s not really relevant to a woman?s emotional health. That?s like arguing that postpartum depression is unrelated to pregnancy or childbirth. But those are the lengths some people will go to in order to protect legal abortion.
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