Laura Vogel-Ciernia, Felton, Minn, Published October 29 2012
Letter: It was a war on factsThe “War on Women” is a political phrase used to describe the inequality women in society face and how they are fighting to overcome it. The Rev. Douglas VanderMeulen claimed in an Oct. 24 column that we should not blame conservatives for the war, but instead those who provide abortions for misrepresenting statistics. I find his statement to be ironic, seeing as how many of the “facts” he used are misrepresented or blatantly false.
Where VanderMeulen found his statistic stating that the U.S. National Cancer Institute reported the women who receive an abortion are 50 percent more likely to get breast cancer is a mystery to me. Simply searching “abortion” on the U.S. National Cancer Institute website will bring you to a fact sheet stating clearly that having an abortion or miscarriage in no way increases the risk for a women getting breast cancer.
As to the claims that abortion leads to higher drug addiction and suicide rates, most of VanderMeulen’s information came from the many pro-life sources, such as the Elliot Institute, which exist for the purpose of making anti-abortion claims. However, if one looks at hard, empirical evidence, the findings of Elliot studies have been discredited or their research methods questioned.
The Swiss study mentioned by the reverend reports that 31 percent of women experience sexual dysfunction after an abortion. While the findings of this study are true, it was not mentioned in VanderMeulen’s article that this effect was found in the first six months after abortion, and was not necessarily a long-term effect. It is understandable that after having a medical procedure on the reproductive system many women might not feel like in engaging in sex right away.
As a graduate in psychology I am familiar with the American Psychological Association, the main body of empirical, psychological research in this country. I am also familiar with their findings that while the main emotion preceding an abortion is distress, the majority of the emotions experienced post-abortion were not negative. In fact, a real psychological study found that 72 percent of women post-abortion reported their abortion had done more good than harm and 80 percent did not have feelings of depression.
My intention is not necessarily to promote abortion. No matter what your beliefs are about abortion, people deserve to have factual information and not skewed, misrepresented and sometimes false “facts” concocted solely to further a political or religious referendum.
Mostly however, I want to bring into light what the “War on Women” is really about. The war on women is about one in six women in the U.S. being a victim of sexual violence, and 99 percent of rapists being male. It is about women making 77 cents on the dollar as compared to men. It is about women across the globe being denied basic reproductive care and suffering as a consequence. The “War on Women” is about the fight for equality in every sense of the word.
Blaming the “War on Women” on those who offer abortions and other reproductive services to women is not only unjustified, but insulting, as it provides a scapegoat for problems women face.