Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Post-Abortion Syndrome

A continuing debate about "post abortion syndrome" is raging over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer editorial page. For a quick summary, see my post from a week ago. In a guest column, Sarah Prager plays some denialism cards in an effort to snuff out the possibility that such a syndrome exists, or that there are negative emotional consequences of abortion. Check out the entire deck at the denialism blog. The first card she plays is the "No Problem" card, which happens to be a common chorus in denialism. By citing that 76% of women experience relief after an abortion, she relegates the 17% of women who do feel grief into a category of extraneous side effect.

In citing that 39 million women undergo abortions sometime in their life, Prager plays the "Consumers Want It" in reference to the service of abortion. That a quarter of the female populations receive abortions is a remarkable statistic, and is one that deserves attention. It should not be cited as proof for the status quo.

I am glad that the columnist did not make the most frequent argument made in the abortion debate, the "Our Rights" card. When this one is played, it becomes impossible to keep an open discussion about the topic. And in an environment where opinions about abortion are so divided, I think that closing the door to dialogue is a bad idea.

Don't misunderstand me, I think that abortion is well within a woman's right to choose her own health care options. I also subscribe to the Clinton dictum that abortion should be legal, safe and rare. I am frustrated when folks use statistics as a screen for issues that could lead toward a resolution of the argument. What am I saying? This argument will never be resolved!

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