As a follow-up to this LA Times article about men and abortion, Sarah Blustain has an article in The Nation about the tactic and why, as ridiculous as it sounds, you'll likely be seeing more of it and why we can't just laugh it off.
But in light of something I have been challenged about, the validity of the so-called Post-Abortion Syndrome, I wanted to highlight this passage.
The data to prove the existence of PAS come from a combination of deeply flawed original research--featuring tiny samples and lack of controls--and the manipulation of large samples into correlations from which pseudo-researchers claim causation. Among the most prominent forms of "data" circulating in the American political system are a few thousand PAS testimonies collected with the express purpose of being used in court to help overturn Roe v. Wade--hardly a scientific sample.PAS doesn't exist. It Does NOT EXIST. Having an abortion does not cause or correlate to long-term unhappiness or unhealthiness. Do people who have abortions sometimes have long-term unhappiness or unhealthiness, yes. Did abortion CAUSE THOSE OUTCOMES? The sciencetific community that has evidence and studies for every other pschological diagnoses says no. Other factors prior to the abortion are the likely cause.
This is not to say that some people don't experience mixed emotions after abortion. Indeed, experts suggest that complex feelings after abortion are common and compare these to similar dynamics around marriage, childbearing and other major life decisions.
But PAS advocates aren't talking about everyday ambivalence or even sadness: they're talking about devastating, life-changing pathology, which mainstream research simply does not support. Post-Abortion Syndrome does not exist in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the widely used guide to accepted disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association convened a task force that is completing a major review of all the postabortion research; this year it is expected to offer a serious critique of those studies and the methodologies used to compose them. Indeed, studies tend to show that the biggest predictor of postabortion troubles is preabortion troubles. Of the link between abortion and postabortion psychological problems, Nada Stotland, president-elect of the APA, says "it's a dead horse."
Now does having an abortion (or seeing the woman you had sex with have an abortion) cause emotions? Sure. So does getting a divorce. Doesn't mean we outlaw divorce. It just means if it effects you, maybe you should get counseling. Not recommend that maybe the law should have stopped you and everyone else from getting a divorce.
I am *so* looking forward to APA's task force's findings on postabortion research. I know it won't put the "syndrome" to bed but for a lot of the media if the APA definitively says "it doesn't exist" then they'll at least use the phrase "so-called post-abortion syndrome."