Today is March for Life day here in Ottawa and across the country. This article about that is pretty fair, interviewing some of the Back to Life walkers who made the trek from Montreal to Ottawa.
What bugs me is Dr. Paul Saurette’s comments about the idea the evidence that abortion is harmful to women being “questionable.” Incidentally, he and I are planning to go for a coffee sometime later this month, so it’s not as if pro-lifers and pro-choicers can’t talk it out. I’ve met Paul before, and he is perfectly pleasant. So there ya go. Dialogue and learning all around.
There isn’t a great deal of evidence about the effect of abortion on women, Saurette said. “The abortion harms women arguments, I think when you look at the medical evidence behind it, it’s extremely questionable,” he said.
Some links are nebulous when it comes to women’s health after abortion. But some certainly are not, and North America (both Canada and the USA) is responsible for the most shoddy, politicized research on the topic, last I checked. However, in Europe (Finland) and New Zealand, we’ve seen some excellent studies (USA too, to a degree) showing connections between abortion and poor mental health. It’s been a while, but I wrote about this here and here.
At least part of the problem is that where political science profs are happy to dismiss evidence they consider to be “pro-life,” they appear to not do so with evidence that appears to be “pro-choice.” So we get a skewed view of the research from people like that, who have a bias but may or may not acknowledge it.
The other thing about the effects of abortion on women is that a) there can be a substantive time lag in experiencing any b) oftentimes effects are there, but not clinical and these are the kind I personally see the most of and c) so many women are told they should just buck up because there is nothing to grieve. See the book Giving Sorrow Words for examples of that.
I will agree, however, that there are a great many women who have abortions, don’t grieve, feel fine and move on. That simply means that our collective conscience is now at a stage where we are unmoved by the suffering of the other and that we are turning our backs on all the very, very conclusive, undisputed evidence that life begins at conception. Some people call that success. I don’t.
So much of the evidence in the abortion debate hinges on what people choose to see.by