Paul  Weyrich

“Nobody has a right to tell me what to do with my body” was one of numerous powerful slogans of the movement to legalize abortion. Many women accepted this viewpoint peddled by the abortion industry, feminists and other advocates of the “Me” culture. Shutting out the voices in support of innocent life certainly has helped many a woman to brave her way into an abortion clinic where her unborn child’s life was vanquished. One important voice cannot be ignored. That voice will become important to many women who have undergone an abortion. It is the voice of conscience. Conscience sometimes facilitates depression or other untoward medical conditions.

“The Course of Mental Health After Miscarriage and Induced Abortion: a Longitudinal, Five-Year Follow-up Study,” a recent study by University of Oslo researchers published in the open access journal, BMC Medicine, examines the difference between 40 women who had miscarriages and 80 women who had abortions. The researchers (Anne Nordal Broen, M.D., Professor Torbjorn Moum, Anne Sejersted Bodtker, M.D. and Oivind Ekeberg, M.D.) indicates that the mother often is directly impacted by her decision to abandon her unborn child to the deadly pinch of an abortionist’s forceps. The study provides a jolt of reality to those who believe that all women consider their own “bodies” first, the life of an unborn child second and their conscience last.

THE LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH, reporting on the Oslo Study, reveals that women who had miscarried experienced more initial distress, anxiety and depression than those women who aborted their unborn child. THE TELEGRAPH reported:

“…after 10 days 47.5 per cent of women who had miscarried suffered from mental distress compared with 30 per cent of the abortion group. The proportion of women who had a miscarriage suffering distress fell to 22.5 per cent at six months and 2.6 per cent at two years and five years.

“However, levels of distress remained high in the abortion group, falling to 25.7 per cent at six months and 18 per cent at two years but rising to 20 percent at five years. The women in the abortion group also had high levels of anxiety, guilt, shame and relief.”

Abortion stops a beating heart; it ends a life. Many women realize that too late, suffering substantial misgivings when the nature of their loss becomes clear. Is it surprising that Yale University Psychiatry Professor Kimberly Yonkers, M.D., who doubts what she calls “postabortion syndrome” (also variously termed “post partum syndrome”) likewise questions the Oslo Study. Yonkers said during and interview with WebMD, "I don't think it is much of a surprise that there was residual guilt and shame following the voluntary termination of a pregnancy. … This is not the kind of thing that someone does and never thinks about again."

Actress Patricia Heaton, Honorary Chair of Feminists for Life, has a wiser (if read seriously) saying than the superficial, truly callous and selfish slogans expounded by pro-abortion organizations. Heaton says, “Women who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy also deserve unplanned joy.”

Fortunately, Feminists for Life has produced handsome, effective advertising to dissuade young women from making a mistake they would come to regret. One advertisement reassures a young pregnant woman that she is no longer alone and provides the names and toll-free telephone numbers of crisis pregnancy centers, such as Care Net and those affiliated with Catholic Charities. “If you’re pregnant and don’t feel like you have much of a choice, call these people. … They’ll stand by you when no one else will.”

Many pregnant women need a helpful word that could save an unborn child’s life and need to be spared of the subsequent regret and sorrow.

Actress Jennifer O’Neill has written about her own abortion in her book From Fallen to Forgiven: A Spiritual Journey Into Wholeness and Healing. “Deep down I knew I was wrong to abort my baby, even when everyone was saying it was right. Nothing in the world could ever make me opt for that choice again.”

The Oslo Study merely is one more alert that abortion is a moral dead-end which not only kills the unborn child but diminishes the physical well-being of the mother. There is a new rallying cry advanced by Feminists for Life and we should hope that women will repeat it in increasing numbers: “Refuse to Choose®. Women Deserve Better®.”

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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