Monday, November 8, 2010

Mental Health Counseling on Abortions

This Sunday there was a really excellent op-ed in the Washington Post called "The big lie about abortion and mental health" by Brenda Major, who is a professor of psychology at the University of California–Santa Barbara and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Major argues:

In the past few years, under the banner of "a woman's right to know," a number of states have passed laws mandating that women seeking abortions be told that going ahead with the procedure would expose them to mental health risks, including post-traumatic stress and a greater danger of suicide.

Such warnings might sound like a good idea. The decision to terminate a pregnancy can be difficult, and some women end up regretting it. It's commendable to help women make an informed choice. But an informed choice requires accurate information. And these laws mandate that women be misled.

Rigorous U.S. scientific studies have not substantiated the claim that abortion, compared with its alternatives, causes an increased incidence of mental health problems.

As Guttmacher Institute detailed in a report [PDF] released this month, there are 18 states that mandate some kind of counseling before a woman may obtain an abortion. Such counseling includes at least one of the following claims:

And now, after last Tuesday's elections, states around the country have elected the most anti-choice state legislators than they have in 80 years. It's extremely likely these legislatures will begin passing legislation that targets women seeking abortions, going further than they already have. Some of the most anti-choice legislation in the last year has come out of Oklahoma, which has just elected Mary Fallin. Fallin boasted of her 100 percent rating from Oklahomans For Life on her campaign website.

Jamelle talked earlier today about the fact that many state budgets will simply dig themselves deeper into financial hardship through state budget cuts, but it's important to remember that states will also be busy passing much socially conservative legislation as well. If you're a woman seeking an abortion, it's likely access to that service will become a lot more limited now.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...