Abortion and mental health
I am writing in response to Bridget Mora’s letter (CHN, Aug. 21) in which she comments on Manju Rajendran’s column (“For full, safe access to abortion without shame,” CHN, Aug 14). Ms. Mora’s statement that “abortion harms mothers, babies and our society” is simply unfounded.
Her claims about health effects in post-abortive women are based on what is methodologically poor, inconclusive research. The findings are quoted selectively and are interpreted with no regard for scientific rigor. Even C. Everett Koop, (U.S. Surgeon General from 1982-89, a devout Christian and personally against abortion), stated “scientific studies do not provide conclusive data about the health effects of abortion on women.” Koop further explained that anecdotes don’t make good science and that the “public health impact of abortion was minuscule.”
An important systematic review conducted at Johns Hopkins in 2008 concluded “the best quality studies indicate no significant differences in long-term mental health between women in the United States who choose to terminate a pregnancy and those who do not. In the U.K., a systematic review of abortion effects on women’s mental health found that abortion did not increase mental health risks; that an unwanted pregnancy was associated with a greater risk of mental-health problems, but the risk was equivalent whether women had an abortion or gave birth (Royal College of Psychiatrists, 2011).
Good science tells us that abortion is not associated with negative mental or physical health. Unsafe, illegal abortion most definitely is a serious risk to women’s health.
Ms. Mora also states “abortion disproportionally targets minority and female babies, as well as those who may have a disability.” Abortion does not “target” anyone – it is a procedure, it does not have agency. There is no evidence that sex-selection abortion occurs regularly in this country. Many women choose to carry a pregnancy to term after they learn of the possibility of birth defects, but who are we to judge those who decide not to? They know their situations better than we do. If we want to support their decision to carry such a pregnancy to term, it would be more useful to advocate for paid sick/family leave; universal access to health care; affordable, quality child care, and fully funded, quality public education.
As for the discrepancy of abortion rates between women of color and white women, this discrepancy reflects the broader inequities that people of color face in their daily lives. Structural determinants such as economic disparity, racism, lack of opportunities, differing social and historical contexts correlate with abortion rates. Providing all women with the support they need to make choices for what is best for them or their family’s well being, no matter their situation, would be a better approach to health for all. I suggest we struggle for a world in which every child lives without hunger, insecurity, lack of justice and opportunity but is cherished and loved.
Mary Dooley, RN, MPH
The little spirit
In response to the Rajendran article and in defense of those children in the womb who cannot defend themselves, I submit this short poem:
The little spirit in the womb
Learns to hear and trust Mom’s voice.
Babe will be given a life or a tomb
Depending on the mother’s choice.
Killing her child may be her right
But that doesn't mean it is ever right.
Killing in general is due to the lack of respect for life, (always the OTHER person's life).
P.S. If you are careful and responsible you don't have to have children. You don't have to kill them to avoid them.
If the Booker Creek culvert under South Elliott Road was built in 1971, why did it take the town of Chapel Hill until 2014 to realize it didn’t have money to rebuild it? Does it even realize that that’s all it’s doing here in 2016?
According to the town manager’s office, this badly needed repair work was deemed “critical” by NCDOT in 2014, and council appropriated $936,000 from 2015-16 stormwater management fees to pay for the new slip-liners currently being installed by Curtis Contractors next to Burger King.
Stormwater management fees came into being back in 2004 here in Chapel Hill expressly to improve our negligent stormwater management infrastructure. This project is just another stark reminder that your stormwater management fees are actually being used to band-aid it (for possibly another 80 years) further downstream, just like we’ve always done.
Maintenance/replacement projects are supposed to be paid for from taxes, aren’t they?
And this one is just in time for the new Elliott Road project with all that new traffic load.
And will those fee-payers 80-years-hence rediscover the need to raise new funds for a new band-aid?
What you’re saying
Please send up to 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions and online comments may be edited for space and clarity. Thank you.