While this could have been an “add” to Tanya’s post, I think the information is important enough to warrant a whole new one. Big Blue Wave posted this in full yesterday, too. I’ve bolded the parts I find the most interesting.
The commentary below is written by a psychologist, a member of the American Psychological Association, one Rachel M. MacNair, of Consistent Life. She says in reasonable, measured tones, you’ll note, that the APA came out with their conclusions based on One Study. One Study. Think about that.
Tales from an Insider-Outsider on the Report of American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, Rachel M. MacNair, Ph.D.Director, Institute for Integrated Social Analysisresearch arm of Consistent Life: An International Network for Peace and LifeWe have known for a long time that the word “choice” in the abortion debate doesn’t mean what it means in regular English, having become a euphemism for abortion rather than a matter of actually having options. Now we find that “science” means what the American Psychological Association (APA) says it means, rather than what those of us trained in a university might have been taught.We start with the appointment of the Task Force. I’m an APA member, and on the Board of Division 48, peace psychology, though of course not on the APA Council which makes the decisions. Though I keep my ears attuned, the task force membership was appointed and explicitly not open to any more nominations by the time I first heard about it. Actually, there never had been any call for nominations. Membership had been decided by Division 35, psychology of women, and the Council apparently rubber-stamped the selection. I knew the fix was in at that point and subsequent events have confirmed this, but I gamely kept trying to talk about balance and science.Having documented that three members of the task force were outspoken defenders of abortion and the remaining three had no public statements of positions, I immediately brought up the point of lack of the voice of skeptics wherever I could. Consistent Life sent out a letter to the entire Council last fall on this point, and received no response.I volunteered to be a reviewer of the Report, which means someone that gives feedback from a scientific point of view. They decided I had the credentials to do so, along with Priscilla Coleman and David Fergusson of New Zealand. I don’t know the rest of the 20 reviewers; David is self-described as an “atheist pro-choicer,” but he shared his review with me and his opinion about the quality of the science therein was roughly the same as mine and Priscilla’s. (…)But I was startled to dig in and realize that the new rationale for the conclusion was based on only one study – using British women where there was a screening requirement we don’t have in the U.S. The fact of many methodological flaws in that study isn’t really the point, since in the real world all studies have some flaws. Far more important is that the study doesn’t support the conclusion, since it did find more drug overdoses in women who had abortions compared to others. Also important is that it doesn’t even address the conclusion, since it was only looking at extreme outcomes – drug overdoses rather than over-all substance abuse, for example. (See http://wiki.afterabortion.org/index.php?title=Gilchrist#Weaknesses for discussion of the one study).We don’t draw such a sweeping conclusion from only one study. As I said, they all have flaws. We put together a group of studies so that the flaws may balance out. One thing needs to be replicated before it’s taken seriously. Setting aside the quality of the study itself, citing only one study in support of a politically-desired conclusion cannot be explained in any other way than a politically-motivated exercise. This is not a debatable point. This is Quantitative Research 101.(…)More studies are coming out, of course. According to the logic of the report itself, if only one study can establish the conclusion, then in theory it should only take one study to knock it down, so long as the new study has the same strengths as the 13-year-old one. But that would be taking the assumption that APA was actually interested in keeping up with real science, an assumption for which at this point I have no evidence.The Report dismisses many of the studies of post-abortion trauma on the grounds that women were already traumatized by the time they showed up to the abortion clinic. This is surely true, but doesn’t it then follow that it’s highly irresponsible to simply give them surgery and then send them home? If we have clear and undisputed information that a disproportionate amount of traumatized women (domestic abuse, substance abuse, etc.) are showing up at any medical location, how can it be reasonable medical care to not screen for this and provide opportunity for intervention? I pointed this out in my review, but they didn’t see this point as worthy of inclusion.Meanwhile, the report does say that they do know that there are groups that have higher negative aftermath: teenagers, women who are pressured, women who have more than one, those abortions that late-term. This is information we can put forth as at least being a consensus among all reviewers.