Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The case for tightening abortion laws

Daily Telegraph: The shame of our abortion laws

Statistics published this week, comparing the effect on women of miscarriages and abortion, offer a case in point. Although miscarriage causes more mental distress in the six months after the loss of a baby, the negative effects of abortion last much longer.

The main statistic, produced by researchers at the University of Oslo, is so striking as to be hard to believe. After five years, less than three per cent of women who had miscarried were still suffering distress; the corresponding figure for women who had undergone an abortion was 20 per cent.

If we find this surprising, that in itself is a reflection of how imperfectly we understand abortion. The politicisation of the debate means that it is usually only unfashionable pro-life activists who point out its psychological dangers, and they are rarely given a proper hearing. Meanwhile, the Family Planning Association continues to insist that "there is no evidence to suggest that abortion directly causes psychological trauma".
In the short term, more post-abortion counselling is needed. In the long term, the need for it should be reduced by a change in the law. The current limit of 24 weeks is appallingly high; yet Tony Blair, a practising Christian, has opposed efforts to reduce it even slightly. It is he, rather than women who have been pressurised into having abortions, who should feel ashamed.

Previous articles about: abortion
Men’s lack of choice in abortion


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