Turnaways

What’s billed as the first scientific study of women denied abortions has some interesting results:

* Turnaways were more likely to stay with their partners, and as a result, were more likely to be victims of domestic violence.

* Women in the study who were denied abortions were more likely to be in poverty than the women who had abortions.

* There was no indication of lasting, harmful mental health issues for women who had abortions when compared to those turned away. But, there was a clear finding that being denied an abortion was a risk to physical health, with childbirth being more dangerous than abortion.

I’m not surprised that this study shows that most of the anti-abortion talking points that we’ve heard for decades are wrong, but even a hundred studies showing the same fucking thing wouldn’t change any of the anti-abortionists minds.

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39 replies
  1. 1
    PeakVT says:

    Via Atrios, an example of the consequences of being turned away. It’s an extreme case, but it could happen anywhere there are no exceptions.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    mistermix,
    Christianista POV:
    “Studies” ain’t FAITH!

    What do heathen “studies” have to do with belief?

    You have math. We have God!

    The Lord said, “Be fruitful (BUT NOT IN A GAY WAY!) and multiply.”

    See that?
    “Multiply!”
    That’s the only math for us Christians that adds up!

  3. 3
    Handy says:

    If someone is anti-abortion, they shouldn’t have one. What their neighbor does is none of their business.

  4. 4
    Schlemizel says:

    BUT! There was that one study (long since discredited) that showed an increase in breast cancer in women who had an abortion. And then there is that other one nobody can find details on that ‘proved’ women suffered from depression and long-term mental health issues after an abortion.

    So both sides do it and some people claim these studies are all the same
    – I wanted to beat the media to their conclusion

  5. 5
    Cacti says:

    This is all very interesting, but you’re missing the big picture.

    How many of these turnaways happened because David Petraeus committed adultery?

  6. 6
    Sgaile-beairt says:

    and then there are the dead ones….

    http://www.independent.ie/nati.....93842.html

  7. 7
    cmorenc says:

    The reason a scientific study won’t change the mind of anti-choice advocates is that it is a theological issue with them. To them, the embryo is on not just equal standing with the mother, but elevated by the mother’s moral responsibility for the new life in her, and so her interests are secondary to that, at least barring a truly near-fatal emergency where the mother likely could not survive to deliver the fetus to term if the pregnancy continued.

    It’s the same reason many of the same people will firmly resist accepting scientific evidence of evolution or of the four billion year old age of the earth, rather than a young “creationist” earth. God’s word from the Bible is literal truth, and all else apparently in contradiction is distracting confusion, either thrown up by God himself for divine reasons beyond man’s comprehension or else deceit thrown up by the Satan, take your pick.

    An interesting minefield to walk through is when our local astronomy club (which does observing sessions for local schools) occasionally does one for home-schoolers, and we show them celestial objects such as the moon, and get asked questions about e.g. how the craters plainly visible through the scope got there…um, three to four billion years ago…

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    And once again, no one interviewed any of the embryos to see how they felt about it, or asked to speak with God about whether or not the women who received abortions would be cast into a lake of fire for all of eternity, so great is His love.

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    And once again, no one interviewed any of the embryos to see how they felt about it, or asked to speak with God about whether or not the women who received abortions would be cast into a lake of fire for all of eternity, so great is His love.

  10. 10
    sparrow says:

    I had an abortion at 5 1/2 weeks. It was absolutely the right decision and I do not suffer even a moment of regret about my choice (which was made with my then-partner, but if he had been against I would have done the same). I felt relieved afterwards, though the process was certainly not cheap or painless and was one I would have gladly avoided had 2 forms of birth control not failed.

    In a few years I plan to start a family with my current partner. I don’t know where I would be if I had been forced to have a baby at 24 while just starting graduate school, but I am almost 100% certain I would not be a PhD researcher at a top institution, nor would I be easily paying off my student loans. It would be a much harder life as a single mom and I am certain I would be seriously struggling financially. It’s not the choice everyone would make and I respect those that “just can’t” do it, but it was the right choice for me. If someone had forced me to have a baby when I was not at all mature or ready I think I would definitely have suffered, and likely the child too.

  11. 11
    sherparick says:

    Anti-abortion movement is mostly about slut punishing for unapproved sexytime and reminding all “good girls” the consequences of unapproved sexytime. The fact that once the child is born none of these people want to bear any social responsibility in the form of higher taxes to pay for pre and post natal care, early childhood nutrition, health care for uninsured children, parenting training, and free education is proof that it all about punishing the woman for sex. As Ebenezer Scrooge remarked about the only things they will grudgingly pay their taxes for are “workhouses and prisions.”

  12. 12
    sparrow says:

    I had an abortion at 5 1/2 weeks. It was absolutely the right decision and I do not suffer even a moment of regret about my choice (which was made with my then-partner, but if he had been against I would have done the same). I felt relieved afterwards, though the process was certainly not cheap or painless and was one I would have gladly avoided had 2 forms of birth control not failed.

    In a few years I plan to start a family with my current partner. I don’t know where I would be if I had been forced to have a baby at 24 while just starting graduate school, but I am almost 100% certain I would not be a PhD researcher at a top institution, nor would I be easily paying off my student loans. It would be a much harder life as a single mom and I am certain I would be seriously struggling financially. It’s not the choice everyone would make and I respect those that “just can’t” do it, but it was the right choice for me. If someone had forced me to have a baby when I was not at all mature or ready I think I would definitely have suffered, and likely the child too.

  13. 13
    liberal says:

    @cmorenc:

    It’s the same reason many of the same people will firmly resist accepting scientific evidence of evolution or of the four billion year old age of the earth, rather than a young “creationist” earth.

    While the source of both resistance to e.g. natural selection and abortion might be the same in these instances, there’s really a difference in the issues.

    Science can inform us about the biological status of the fetus, but it can’t answer the moral questions concerning abortion, just as it has nothing to say about e.g. the prohibitions against theft or murder.

    Moral issues are in a different category. Again, a scientific description of the natural world can inform our views, but it can’t make our choices for us.

    Not to say I think abortion is murder; I don’t.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m not surprised that this study shows that most of the anti-abortion talking points that we’ve heard for decades are wrong, but even a hundred studies showing the same fucking thing wouldn’t change any of the anti-abortionists minds.

    Sluts must be punished.

    End of discussion.

    (on edit: this is shorter what sherpatrick said :) )

  15. 15

    …even a hundred studies showing the same fucking thing wouldn’t change any of the anti-abortionists minds.

    Until they or somebody they love needs on. The, as if by magic, it becomes something “personal”, and they “trust” their daughter, wife, whoever to “make the right decision”.

  16. 16
    Jack the Second says:

    @cmorenc: I think there’s a lot of ground to be made by, instead of trying to dissuade anyone of their opinions or beliefs on the personhood of embryos and fetuses, arguing that there is nothing contradictory in holding that abortions can be both “bad” and should still be legal, safe, and a woman’s choice.

    I personally take a pretty absolute view of morality, that wrong is wrong is wrong, and cannot be justified by appealing to a greater good. Killing a person is always wrong. Doesn’t matter who they are, doesn’t matter what they’re doing, doesn’t matter what they’ve done. If you can not kill them, it’s always better.

    But that does not make me opposed to self defense. If you find yourself in a situation where the only choice is to kill a man or to see yourself or your loved ones killed or grievously harmed, by all means. Killing in self defense doesn’t become a good act, though; it is still bad, and would have been better if he could have been stopped without killing. But even thought killing may be absolutely wrong, we as a society can respond to it on a sliding scale. We can forgive. We can accept. Hell, we can apologize to you for forcing you to live in a world where you had to make a decision about whether or not to kill someone.

    Personally, I feel pretty OK saying that embryos aren’t people, but even granting the anti-aboritionists their full argument, and saying, sure life starts whenever, I feel pretty OK saying abortion should still be legal, and that whenever someone has to make the choice to get an abortion, we as a society can forgive, accept, or even apologize for forcing them to live in a world where abortions are still necessary.

  17. 17
    RaflW says:

    …even a hundred studies showing the same fucking thing wouldn’t change any of the anti-abortionists minds.

    Sure. But policy-makers in the several states that are not insane will be influenced by this study.

    It is useful to point out the anti-science, anti-empiricism and anti-womenness of much of the anti-abortion movement. But mainly to point and laugh.

    We need to be talking to the 60% in the middle on abortion, the ones for whom neither full access nor full prohibition is their (often squishy and uncomfortable) position.

    This study is for them.

  18. 18
    hep kitty says:

    » Women in the study who were denied abortions were more likely to be in poverty than the women who had abortions.

    REALLY?? No one could have predicted! NO ONE! This is a stunning revelation. It’s going to take me a few months to recover from this because it absolutely never occurred to me that unwanted pregnancies increase poverty!

    Hence the republican obsession with birth control and abortion since, lack of same will produce even more “freeloaders” and “takers”! It makes perfect sense so I’m really going to have to take a sabbatical and ponder this one

    AMAZING stuff!

  19. 19
    sherparick says:

    Already, the Irish Republic’s norms are becoming the “de facto” situation in many Red States.

    http://crookedtimber.org/2012/.....more-26552

    The Irish Association of Child Molesters, also known as the Bishop’s conference of course says the the dead woman and the cause of her death don’t exist per theological doctrine.

  20. 20
    liberal says:

    @hep kitty:

    It’s going to take me a few months to recover from this because it absolutely never occurred to me that unwanted pregnancies increase poverty!

    The way I read it, causality is in the other direction: poor women are more likely to be turned away.

  21. 21
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    Reminds me-anyone see the Huckabee interview in the Daily Show Monday? Mofo just smiled and tried to reframe all his wingnut beliefs as rational. And Stewart did a serviceable job of calling him on it (but Stewart is seriously a below-average adversarial interviewer. See, e.g., his John Yoo interview. To be fair, that guy is a slippery fuck and Stewart isn’t a lawyer. But still. Work on your interview skills or only bring on adversaries of viewpoint that you’re going to fellate for their “reasonableness”, like Kristol), but I was struck by his comment that life begins at conception as an undeniable fact that Stewart didn’t really call him on. I mean, I’ll grant you that an embryo is life-in the same way that a plant cell or an amoeba is life, but not the way you’re thinking of.

    And look, if I were interviewing the guy I would’ve called him on every single thing he said, but if you do that, you look desperate and overly confrontational. Problem is Huckabee projects a very friendly air which makes it hard to really engage, from an optics standpoint at least.

    Sorry, drifting off topic.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    @liberal: Scientific study can knock down the thin veneer of faux-scientific bs they use to buttress their positions. A “great” “moral” “truth(tm)” surrounded by a scaffolding of false statement should be revealed for exactly what it is.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    I can personally attest to the lasting emotional difficulties that result from being forced to give birth against one’s will, especially at the tender age of 16. It made my relationship with my mother a horrible thing until I was in my thirties and decided that I’d forgive her for allowing the Catholic Church to hold me prisoner and steal the resulting child.

    I will, however, never forgive the Church and I will fight those ghouls every chance I get. They created a white hot hate in me (for them) that I not only won’t ever get over, but that I cultivate and nurture.

  24. 24
    hep kitty says:

    @sparrow: Everyone seems to miss this point which you so succinctly expressed. I for one, knew somehow, deep inside, that I would not be a good mother nor would I have been financially able to give my child what he or she would need to live comfortably. I never had anyone in my life who made me feel I could rely on them for security and financial help.

    I’m neither cold nor selfish. Despite my persona here, in real life I am nurturing and loving. But that doesn’t mean I would have been a good mother.

    Yes, I feel like I missed out sometimes, but it’s too late now and I cannot regret a decision that prevented bringing shame and disgrace to my family (one must consider the times when I say this) and also try to pull off being a baby with a baby (b/c , to me, early 20’s still = child) – I would have been a complete failure.

    There was a time, when I was growing up, that we kept receiving the message: “You don’t have to be June Cleaver, women can do/be whatever they want and that includes not having kids! Not being a traditional housewife and having kids does not make you less of a woman.”

    It was called the womens’ movement and was terminally doomed, apparently.

    And here we are, in 2012. Did I dream all that? And I am now being punished and portrayed a slut and all that for buying into it? For making a wise decision that has cost me membership to the world of “real women” forever?

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.):

    Until they or somebody they love needs on. The, as if by magic, it becomes something “personal”, and they “trust” their daughter, wife, whoever to “make the right decision”.

    That won’t change their mind, either. They’ll happily make an exception for their loved one and not see any contradiction with enforcing the rules for those other people.

  26. 26

    Turnaways were more likely to stay with their partners, and as a result, were more likely to be victims of domestic violence.

    Feature, not a bug. The GOP is the party of abusive assholes, and they gut pick policies that are either directly abusive or make it easier to abuse. They also suck in those poor fools so abused that they’ve internalized abuse as morally right. Between those two groups, they’ve got about half the country. Slut shaming is a minor element of the anti-abortion movement. It’s driven by that most pure of abuser thought patterns, ‘My imaginary 50s culture says this is wrong. Not only do I not care if you suffer while I force you to obey my arbitrary rule, the more you suffer the better.’

  27. 27
    geg6 says:

    @hep kitty:

    There was a time, when I was growing up, that we kept receiving the message: “You don’t have to be June Cleaver, women can do/be whatever they want and that includes not having kids! Not being a traditional housewife and having kids does not make you less of a woman.”

    Boy, yes, THIS. I miss those days, I gotta tell you.

    I think I was born not wanting children or to get married. There are family stories about how precocious I was as a child, always talking about how I’d never get married or have kids. I wouldn’t even play with baby dolls as a pre-schooler. And my Barbies, unlike all my friends’, never had a wedding dress or a Ken. She was a career girl, usually a lawyer. This was back in the early to mid-60s, before the Second Wave really took off. And everyone would laugh and console my mother by saying that I would certainly change my mind once I grew up.

    Well, other than that forced teenage birth and adoption, I’m now 53 (almost 54! Ack!). I have never once married, despite a couple of long term live-in relationships (including my current one). I never had another child. And I don’t regret any of it. I would have been a terrible parent and a terrible wife. I would have hated being both things. I’m a terrific aunt and (I’m told) a wonderful partner in life. I have a great relationship with my SO’s daughter. My students like and respect me. My career is fulfilling. My dog is my second favorite companion. I’m so, so happy with how my life has turned out.

    But even the young women I deal with every day cannot wrap their minds around my life choices. They have been so programmed to want to marry (early and often, as I always say) and to think giving birth is the most important and fulfilling thing they can do with their lives. They don’t talk about their careers much, which I find shocking since they are all well-educated college students. It’s all about getting married and having kids.

    We need, perhaps, a Fourth Wave. I have not found the Third Wave very inspiring or satisfying, what with their big idea that calling oneself a feminist is somehow a bad thing.

  28. 28
    hep kitty says:

    @geg6: I so agree! I remember a few years ago reading about the young woman who had a promising life before her, beautiful, smart, everything in the world going for her. And then she committed suicide because she could not get pregnant. It was on the intertubes and stuff.

    I hated “Steel Magnolies” – not only b/c it was a cheap ripoff on real life southern women, but b/c Julia Roberts’ character wanted a baby so bad she was willing to risk her life. She finally got pregnant and eventually died as a result and was portrayed as some sort of angelic heroine. That absolutely burned me up. But it’s a film republicans would LOVE!

    That was in the 80’s, of course. 10 years after what was probably the zenith of the women’s movement.

    Kudos to you for not caving in to pressure and thinking for yourself. It has obviously paid off well for you!

    And yes, I totally understand what you mean about the young ones. I shake my head and think, in this economy? Honey chile. Hope you don’t plan to stay home during those formative years!

    If you really want to show what a real woman you are, wait until you or your partner can be there for that kid during those crucial formative years. Because that’s what that kid is gonna need, what every kid needs. That’s what real love and sacrifice is all about.

  29. 29
    hep kitty says:

    @geg6:

    I have not found the Third Wave very inspiring or satisfying, what with their big idea that calling oneself a feminist is somehow a bad thing.

    I wonder if they want/ think they can have what their mothers had in the 80’s and 90’s. But these are different times and those days are gone, long gone.

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    There absolutely need to be a variety of voices for young women to listen to. In some ways, I think things have progressed tremendously.

    In my adolescent years, down South, the girl was supposed to sit on the lawn and be alert, while they chatted with other girls on the lawn, waiting for a male hand (usually bent over an open car hood) to appear, ready to have its empty can of something exchanged for a full one.

    And so it would stay, until it was a pause in chasing toddlers around the yard to refill that blind hand…

    I don’t know any young women (mind you, I fled North and was glad of it) who would find that appealing. And that is exactly the way it should be.

  31. 31
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    @hep kitty: I haven’t gotten that impression from the feminists I know (re self-identifying as a feminist). Age group between early 20s and mid 30s. But the people a radical pinko commie unamurrikan like me know might well be the exception.

    Also: great inflammatory comment to start a fight. When asked to define feminist, answer: a self-respecting woman (not to say that men can’t be feminists, it’s just a nice, snappy answer). Among the general population, it’s definitely a word (like “liberal”) that we need to take back.

  32. 32
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @liberal: Science can inform us about the biological status of the fetus, but it can’t answer the moral questions concerning abortion, just as it has nothing to say about e.g. the prohibitions against theft or murder.

    Wrong. Moral questions cannot be extricated from their practical consequences.

    The bishops tell us they can settle moral questions a priori (while secretly skimming ahead in the biology textbook), but that is a pose to turn eyes away from the true moral outrage and insane degree of suffering imposed by their lofty dogma.

    The truth is that our moral compass is embedded in our brains as the result of millions of years of evolution and the decisions we make are highly contingent upon circumstances.

    Forced birth apologists make ridiculous claims about conception, viability, and safety (and rape) because if those things were true, their position would be neutral, even moral, rather than evil. They hope to persuade the trusting, the ignorant, the easily led.

    The truth: at least a third of conceptions either fail to implant or auto-abort before the woman even knows she’s pregnant.

    Pregnancy is more dangerous than an abortion.

    Some pregnancies are not viable, no matter what.

  33. 33
    otmar says:

    You’ve read the news from Ireland?

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/14/.....index.html

  34. 34
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Jack the Second: Personally, I feel pretty OK saying that embryos aren’t people, but even granting the anti-aboritionists their full argument, and saying, sure life starts whenever, I feel pretty OK saying abortion should still be legal, and that whenever someone has to make the choice to get an abortion, we as a society can forgive, accept, or even apologize for forcing them to live in a world where abortions are still necessary.

    Is killing a six week old embryo more or less evil than eating a 3-year-old head of cattle?

    Discuss.

  35. 35
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @geg6: But even the young women I deal with every day cannot wrap their minds around my life choices. They have been so programmed to want to marry (early and often, as I always say) and to think giving birth is the most important and fulfilling thing they can do with their lives. They don’t talk about their careers much, which I find shocking since they are all well-educated college students. It’s all about getting married and having kids.

    But, you know, things are so different economically now. Marriage is largely an economic arrangement. The younger generation is more dependent. If they are not, they fall into poverty.

    Also, kids are expensive so children have become a status symbol (sad, yes). For others, facing nothing but poverty, one might as well have one’s children now rather than wait. A “career” is a sad joke for anyone who didn’t win the lucky gamete lottery so it’s not wonder it’s not the thing to trot out. Plus there is some modicum of legal protection for sprogging and continuing to work, so a lot of women (and men) do this now, rather than making a choice between the two.

  36. 36
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @hep kitty: I know a woman who did this. Diabetic, had another child–we all thought she was smarter than that. Lost her job (being stubborn) and now can’t get it back.

    Really, really sad.

  37. 37
    Sgaile-beairt says:

    huge spontaneous protests in Ireland this evening, shut down the streets around the govt, thousands of people showed up via twitter to demand justice & reform in Savita’s name….

  38. 38
    Wally Ballou says:

    @geg6: Right. They can’t possibly, you know, just have very different priorities from yours, or different ideas about what constitutes a good and satisfying life. No, they must have been “programmed”.

    Maybe, just maybe, that kind of condescension (and the corresponding insistence, to very similar to that of the pro-forced-birth crowd, that one’s own life choices are the “right” ones) is a big part of why Those (female) People don’t choose to self-identify as feminists.

  39. 39
    Arclite says:

    Shorter anti-abortionist: Aborting a fetus = stabbing your own mother in the back with a steak knife 50 times.

    If the religious fundies supported contraception, supported fetal health care programs like WIC, and supported post birth programs like CHIP, I might be more sympathetic to an anti-abortion stance. Okay maybe not, but at least I could believe them when they say they care about the babies. IF they really did, they’d support ALL pro-child programs.

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