an After abortion

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Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Elliot Institute

The Elliot Institute also has a free monthly e-newsletter but, as far as I can tell from reading their huge, sprawling, site, they don't put a copy of it online.

It is well worth anyone's time to spend a few hours at the Elliot Institute's website.

One issue that Eve Tushnet talked about in her recent National Catholic Register article about traumatic reactions to abortion is why some react more strongly than others.

David Reardon, head of the Elliot Institute, talks about this in a very intelligent way in one of his articles, "Identifying High Risk Abortion Patients".

Here is an excerpt.


This "politically correct" view of post-abortion trauma includes a kernel of truth surrounded by a lot of "blaming the victim." It is certainly true that women who are suffering from mental disorders or have previously suffered psychological trauma are more likely to subsequently report more severe negative post-abortion reactions. Indeed, if one thing is clear from post-abortion research over the last forty years, it is that abortion is contraindicated when a woman has mental health problems.

This is true because abortion is always stressful. How well a person copes with this stress depends on the individual's resiliency and the conditions under which the stress occurs. When a woman's psychological state is already fragile, the stress of an abortion can more easily overwhelm her. But the fact that she was more vulnerable to stress than others does not mean that the abortion is not the cause of her psychological injuries.

If a glass plate and a plastic plate are both dropped, the glass plate is likely to shatter, while the same stress may cause the plastic plate to only crack or chip. In either case, the damage cannot be blamed on the material; it must be blamed on the fall. While the extent of the damage is related to the nature of the material, the fall itself is the direct cause of the damage.

In the same way, while the nature of an individual psyche determines the extent of post-abortion injuries, it is the abortion itself which is the direct cause of these injuries.

This "blame the victim" strategy which is being employed by some pro-abortion researchers is not new. It is identical to the type of reasoning used during World War I when veterans suffering from "shell shock" were diagnosed by military psychiatrists as "malingerers" or even cowards. In an age when fighting for one's country was romantically idealized as adventurous passage into manhood, this "politically correct" diagnosis was necessary to deflect attention away from the fact that modern warfare was often more traumatic than ennobling. Military officials therefore attempted to suppress reports of psychiatric casualties because accurate reports would have had a demoralizing effect on the public."

For the rest of the article, click here.

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