American Psychological Association May Hide Abortion’s Risks in August Report
by Steven Ertelt
July 25, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading psychology professor and a liberal pro-life group are concerned that the American Psychological Association will hide the risks of abortion when it released a new report in August.
Last year, the psychological group began a new review of abortion and emotional issues.
The APA created a task force to review all the existing research regarding the negative psychological consequences following abortion. Based on their evaluation of the data, they will release a report that will influence their members and the media for years to come.
That report is due next month but concerns are cropping up regarding the timing and composition of the task from a liberal pro-life group called Consistent Life, formerly the Seamless Garment Network.
Bill Samuel, the president of the group, noted in his letter that the APA has taken a pro-abortion position since 1969 "and therefore has a clear political stand."
He complained that the task force had no call for nominations and was composed of "strong public advocates of the pro-choice view."
"Advocates of the view that abortion is violence to both unborn children and to women, which could balance such biases, are ominously absent,’ Samuel lamented. "There are several well-qualified researchers who would have been pleased to serve on the panel, had the panel been selected with balance in mind."
APA President Alan Kazdin replied to the letter and said the task force was selected to include members of the original panel convened 15 years ago that denied any mental health risks following abortions.
Although considerable work has been published in peer-reviewed journals showing the consequences of an abortion — from depression and suicide to alcohol abuse and relationship issues — Kazdin insisted the task force have a methodologist.
Pro-abortion members of the APA have claimed the studies showing risks have methodological errors.
Samuel responded to the letter saying that the media will focus on the conclusion of the panel and, if the task force comes to the politically motivated conclusion that there are no mental health risks from an abortion, women will be misled.
"Lay people don’t read the minutiae of the report, and we understand the conclusion [abortion has no negative effects] is all you post on your web page," Samuel said.
"Is there any other phenomenon where the conclusion is based on those who do not have problems rather than on the therapeutic needs of those who do?" he asked.
Others also have concerns about the American Psychological Association task force.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology at Grove City College says the APA has an obligation to provide accurate information so women known about abortion’s problems.
"Informed consent values require that physicians tell patients the possible risks prior to giving consent to a procedure," he told LifeNews.com.
"Clearly not all who participate in any test or procedure have adverse reactions. But some do. And this information is provided to subsequent patients when known," he said.
"The report is not available to the public as yet but will probably be made public during the APA convention. I will be surprised if the APA report provides reasonable guidelines for informing women of potential risks associated with abortion," he concluded.
Georgette Forney, the head of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is also concerned about the new report and she previously talked with LifeNews.com about it.
Her group also sent APA a letter saying her organization has worked with thousands of women who have had significant mental health issues following an abortion.
"We write to ask how we may have a voice in the deliberations of this task force," the letter to APA said.
"In examining the existing scientific research, we are aware of thousands of women who may not show up in studies of post-abortion effects," the letter adds. "Part of the purpose of our letter is to make you aware of a very large pool of potential participants in research on potential effects of abortion."
If the APA conducts an exhaustive and honest review of the data, it will find a New Zealand study showing 40 percent of women who have abortions experienced significant depression — a higher rate than women who carry their pregnancy to term.
Other studies have shown women who have abortions have higher levels of addictions to drugs or alcohol and higher suicide rates.
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