A federal appeals court has upheld a provision of a South Dakota law requiring the states lone abortion business, operated by Planned Parenthood, that it has to inform women of the validity of the link between abortion and suicide. With women facing a host of mental health issues following an abortion, Planned Parenthood can no longer keep women in the dark about them.
An en banc panel of the court declared that South Dakota’s statute that requires abortion doctors to disclose to pregnant mothers that an abortion places the mother at increased risk for suicide ideation and suicide constitutional because the disclosure is truthful, non-misleading, and relevant to the pregnant mother’s decision of whether or not to consent to an abortion.
Harold J. Cassidy, a pro-life attorney who represented Leslee Unruh, president of the Alpha Center of Sioux Falls, and Stacy Wollman, president of Care Net of Rapid City — two pregnancy centers that provide abortion alternatives — sent LifeNews details about the decision.
He called the decision “a fabulous victory for the women of the State of South Dakota.”
“The Court ruled that the women will now be given additional important information before they consent to an abortion: that the abortion places a woman at increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide,” he said. “This victory represents the fourth separate decision of the Eighth Circuit reversing the District Court in this one case, two decisions issued by en banc Courts four years apart – a rare occurrence that underscores the importance of the issues presented by the case.”
As a result of the decision, upholding all eight major provisions of South Dakota’s Abortion Informed Consent Statute, pregnant mothers will now be informed:
(1) that “an abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being;”
(2) that the mother’s “relationship with that second human being enjoys protection under the Constitution of the United States and the Laws of South Dakota;”
(3) that relationship and all rights attached to it will be terminated; and
(4) the abortion places the mother “at increased risk for suicide ideation and suicide.”
“Any decision that a pregnant mother makes in the context of her considering an abortion that will deprive her of the joy and fulfillment of a life long relationship with her child, must be totally voluntary and well informed. The victory today is a step towards achieving that goal for the women of South Dakota,” Cassidy said.
The case ends a several-year-long legal battle Planned Parenthood pitched over the law.
Cassidy stated: “The people of the State of South Dakota have stood up to the threats, false accusations and litigation tactics of Planned Parenthood. In the process, the people of South Dakota have shown that they will not be intimidated by threats of litigation, threats of payment of attorneys’ fees, and will hold fast to their conviction that a handful of people in New York, with a radical philosophy, will not dictate to the people of South Dakota, when, if, and how they will protect their women from harm, pressure, coercion and false and incomplete information when making the most important decision of their lives.”
There have been numerous studies that found an association between abortion and suicide. Other studies have found a link between abortion and depression (which is a major risk factor for suicide). For example:
A 1995 study by A.C. Gilchrist in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that in women with no history of psychiatric illness, the rate of deliberate self-harm was 70 percent higher after abortion than after childbirth.
A 1996 study in Finland by pro-choice researcher Mika Gissler in the British Medical Journal found that the suicide rate was nearly six times greater among women who aborted than among women who gave birth.
A 2002 record-linkage study of California Medicaid patients in the Southern Medical Journal, which controlled for prior mental illness, found that suicide risk was 154 percent higher among women who aborted than among those who delivered.
A March 2004 report from the National Institutes of Health revealed that suicide is now the third leading cause of death among America’s young people. In fact, for teen girls and young women, the suicide rate has tripled over the past 25 years.
While suicide among women in the typical abortion age range is rising, suicide rates for Americans in general are dropping across the country. Dr. David Reardon, director of the Springfield, Illinois-based Elliot Institute, says abortion is partly to blame for the increase.
“Given the fact that more than half of all women having abortions are under the age of 25, and more than 20 percent of women having abortions are teenagers, the increased suicide rate among teens and young women is sadly not a surprise,” Reardon said.
Reardon says unwanted abortions are a reality for teens and young women who are often pressured by boyfriends or parents to have abortions. e says as many as one in six abortions are performed as a result of such coercion and a study the Elliot Institute conducted among women experiencing post-abortion problems reveals that 80 percent said that would not have had an abortion if they had received support from others to have the child.
“Even if their families might give them the support they need to have their babies, many teens often undergo secret abortions without telling their parents,” Reardon said. “Either way, these girls and young women often have no one to turn to when they are in despair over an abortion.”
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Another Elliott Institute study also found that women who have abortions are more likely to commit suicide.
Reardon’s group examined Medi-Cal records for more than 173,000 low-income California women who had abortions or gave birth in 1989. Linking these records to death certificates, the researchers found that women who had state-funded abortions were 2.6 times more likely to die of suicide compared to women who delivered their babies.
The study also found that women who have abortions have a higher suicide rate than women in general. In fact, giving birth reduces women’s suicide risk, the study showed.
Other studies have found higher rates of depression, mental illness, miscarriages and substance abuse among post-abortive women compared to women who gave birth.