Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lori Ziganto's Pro-Choice Argument

According to a study that was just released, "Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does," writes the Associated Press.

According to NPR,
Robert Blum, an expert on reproductive health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, did not work on the study, but he has worked in the field for decades.
"This is an extremely, extremely well done study," he said. "There is no evidence that abortion predisposes a woman to psychiatric and mental health problems." 
"There is no post-abortion trauma, post-abortion syndrome, or anything of the like," he said.
NPR reports in the same story that "[a]s many as 25 percent of new mothers experience post-partum depression."

Lori Ziganto has argued again and again that the alleged existence of post-abortion syndrome makes abortion morally problematic. For example, Ziganto writes:
While feminists sneer at the idea of post-abortion syndrome, it does exist. And if they actually cared about women, they’d admit that fact and would stop encouraging women to have abortions without disclosing the trauma that can occur to the woman.
It’s clear that they don’t care about the dead babies, but they also need to stop insisting that they are For Women ™ , when they most obviously are not. You see, feminists, an unborn baby is not just a clump of cells. Many women who abort their babies, therefore, suffer intense pain and immense guilt. Their entire lives. 
Clearly, Ziganto believes that abortion is wrong, and one reason why it is wrong is the damage it allegedly does to women. Therefore, Ziganto can be interpreted as supporting the following argument:
  1. It is prima facie wrong to do anything that puts the mental health of women at significant risk. 
  2. Abortion puts the mental health of women at significant risk. 
  3. Therefore, abortion is wrong. 
Now I think we are all justified in saying that (2) is very probably false. So much for that argument. But there is another argument that Ziganto would endorse, I'm sure, since she cares so much about the welfare of women and thus asserts (1):
  1. It is prima facie wrong to do anything that puts the mental health of women at significant risk. 
  2. Childbirth puts the mental health of women at significant risk (by putting them at risk of post-partum depression). 
  3. Therefore, completing a pregnancy is morally wrong. 
Nice work, Ziganto. Are you and Marcotte bff's now?

Update: Surely Lori Ziganto's concern for mental health extends to men. So think about your significant others, ladies:
In a 2006 study, James Paulson, a psychologist at Eastern Virginia Medical School, assessed the parents of 5,089 infants and found that 14 percent of the mothers had signs of moderate to severe depression. And so did 10 percent of the fathers. Compare that with the 3 percent to 5 percent of men in the general population who are depressed (as well as the 8 percent or 9 percent of women). 
Abort for the men in your life, won't you? (You want to be careful. That there's dripping with sarcasm, and you wouldn't want to get any of that on you.)

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ---W.K. Clifford

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. ---Thomas Jefferson