an After abortion

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Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Kansas attorney general Phil Kline has been seeking for several years to access the records of abortion clinics in Kansas in order to determine whether sexual crimes against minors have gone unreported.

Today, the Wichita Eagle has a long article about Vince Rue, who has been called as an expert witness in the litigation surrounded Kline's request: Kline's consultant known for anti-abortion research.

A $150,000 consultant to state Attorney General Phil Kline in a teenage sexual privacy suit is a longtime abortion critic who runs a research institute on a shoestring budget out of his home.

Consultant Vincent Rue's major contribution to science is the identification in 1981 of an abortion-related stress syndrome that has not gained widespread acceptance in the mental health field.

He funds his research in abortion trauma with fees from numerous appearances as a witness or consultant in cases across the country, such as this one with Kline.

The lawsuit before U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten challenges a legal opinion issued by Kline, which would require physicians and other service providers to report sexually active teen-agers to state officials.

Kline spokesman Whitney Watson defended hiring Rue, noting that he holds a doctorate in child development and family relations from the University of North Carolina. Rue said he has testified as an expert witness in more than three dozen court cases and worked as a consultant for 18 attorneys general.

"The guy's worked for about half the attorneys general in the country on this or related issues," Watson said. "That speaks volumes."
The article also reviews the history of Vince Rue's involvement with identifying post-abortion syndrome:

Rue is well-known in anti-abortion circles as one of the researchers who first identified what he calls "post abortion syndrome," or PAS.

According to Rue, PAS is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder that afflicts women who regret having an abortion.

Rue was one of four researchers who published a 2004 paper in the journal Medical Science Monitor reporting that 14.3 percent of American women who had abortions and participated in the study met the full psychological criteria for post-traumatic stress syndrome. That syndrome is usually associated with combat soldiers or others who have experienced events such as the sudden loss of a loved one.

PAS has not been accepted by the American Psychiatric Association or the American Psychological Association, the two major groups in the mental health field. PAS is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the major compendium of recognized mental illnesses, said Jessica Mikulski, spokeswoman for the American Psychiatric Association.

The American Psychological Association's position, "based on a review of the science literature, is that there is no evidence to suggest that having an abortion, in and of itself, has a negative effect on a woman's mental health," said spokeswoman Rhea Farberman.
That's not at all persuasive. It's been nearly two decades since they convened a group to review the research. There's a lot of research just in the last several years that strongly suggests that emotional health is frequently impaired by abortion; sometimes dramatically.

In at least two of the many cases in which he's testified, Rue was found to be lacking credibility.
Would it be safe to infer from this that in all the other dozens of cases, he was found to possess credibility?

A Minnesota federal judge wrote that Rue's testimony "lacked the analytical force of contrary testimony offered by plaintiffs' witnesses."
Wait. That's not at all the same as saying that Rue "lacks credibility" as a witness. It just means that the judge found that the evidence and analysis presented by the other side was more compelling overall. It happens in every case that has expert witnesses for both sides that the judge is forced to lean more on the experts for one side than for the other. That's not at all the same as the judge saying "you lack credibility" to one set of expert witnesses. This is a lame conclusion for the reporters here to draw, and suggests bias.

I'm sending a link to this blog entry to Ron Sylvester, one of the authors of the article.

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