Sunday, February 19, 2006

Don't bother us with the facts

A study by a team of researchers in New Zealand suggests that abortion is associated with subsequent mental health problems in young women. When Warren Throckmorton of the Washington Times asked the American Psychological Association how this finding might effect its advocacy of abortion rights, he was essentially told that "it doesn't matter.". An APA spokesperson said that "[t]o pro-choice advocates, mental health effects are not relevant to the legal context of arguments to restrict access to abortion." She went on to say that evidence of negative effects of abortion would be relevant only to give women the information they require to make an informed choice.

But if that's the case, then why does the APA even have a position on abortion as opposed to simply disseminating the information required for an "informed" choice? It offers, if anything at all, insight into psychological issues, not into what should and should not be a civil right.

Professional organizations, like the APA and our own American Bar Association, are frequently hijacked by people with a political ax to grind. No one else cares enough to play the type of professional politics required to gain influence in these groups. Keep that in mind the next time someone offers the "considered" position of a professional organization as a supposedly disinterested source of authority. That is rarely the case.

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