- For Survivors
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- Summit 2020
This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 01, 2020
“We’re pleased that the American Journal of Psychiatry has issued a rare public correction of serious errors in a study promoting so-called gender-reassignment surgery it published last October,” said Rev. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., Ruth Institute Senior Research Associate.
“The Journal now acknowledges that, contrary to what was reported earlier, the study does not show that those undergoing such surgery had improved mental health. Specifically, it does not show that these patients were less likely to suffer from mood-anxiety disorders, based on reports of fewer hospitalizations or less use of prescription drugs,” Dr. Sullins explained.
“The authors of the study sought to generate (in their words) support for policies that ensure coverage of gender-affirming treatments,” ignoring many elements of the data that invalidated this conclusion. In fact, an earlier, more rigorous, study of the same data had shown that the risk of suicide following sex reassignment surgery was over 10 times that of the general population. Seven groups of scholars noticed the discrepancy and wrote critical letters to the journal pointing out the bias and weaknesses of the newer study. The corrected conclusion of the study was the opposite of what was initially reported.”
For what’s called the Transgender movement, science is frequently distorted in the service of ideology. The results can be catastrophic for individuals and their families.
Pre-teen patients are often subjected to treatment to get them to assume the physical characteristics of the opposite sex. Dr. Sullins charged: “Instead of helping them to feel comfortable with the bodies they have, those suffering from gender dystopia are treated with hormones and surgery to get them to resemble the bodies they do not have.”
“Based on multiple scholarly complaints, the Journal had the integrity to reexamine the study and issue a correction,” Sullins remarked. “We wish everyone dealing with these studies showed the same willingness to view the matter objectively and admit mistakes.”
Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., retired Professor of Sociology at Catholic University of America, is Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute and the author of two Ruth Institute reports on the relationship of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and homosexual priests. Find the first report here and the second one here.
Sullins spoke at the Institute’s 2020 Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (July 17-18) on “Social Science Evidence About the Sexual Revolution.”To schedule an interview with Dr. Sullins, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 12, 2020
by Ben Broussard
This article was first published August 6, 2020, at tfpla.org.
All attendees were eager to share strategies and network with other activists.
Summit topics included abortion, pornography and transgenderism. Participants heard the testimony of former homosexuals, mothers opposing the ‘transitioning’ of their children and parents working against radical sex education.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, head of the American College of Pediatricians, discussed at length about the medical consequences of transgenderism. Sue Ellen Browder, former writer for Cosmopolitan magazine, gave insights about how major media promote promiscuity and impurity.
Members of TFP—Louisiana shared their own stories about fighting back against the Drag Queen Story Hour held at public libraries. During the concluding activist panel, Thomas Drake, president of TFP Louisiana, presented a new video showcasing the TFP’s efforts fighting back against this effort to ruin children’s innocence. Those present gave the video a standing ovation.
Members of TFP with those on the Summit Activist panel. Front row right to left; Thomas Drake (TFP), Activist of the year Cathy Ruse, Dr. Jennifer Morse (Founder and President of the Ruth Institute), Mrs. Tracy Shannon (Mass Resistance, Houston)
The summit presenters highlighted a common theme: the Church was right all along in insisting on chastity. May all Americans of good will heed the call to promote and defend this truth for the healing of America.
Posted on: Monday, July 27, 2020
The Ruth Institute’s conference explores the tragic effects of an “anything goes” culture.
by Kathy Schiffer, July 25, 2020, at NCRegister.com.
It was sometime around the mid-1960s that the sexual revolution really got underway; and in the ensuing decades, “free sex” – that is, sex without restrictions and without consequences – gained momentum in American culture. The introduction of the birth control pill effectively separated sexual intercourse from its expected result, pregnancy. No-fault divorce, sex outside of marriage, legalized abortion, promiscuity and the hook-up culture, infidelity and bigamy and polygamy, the emergence of “throuples”... inevitably led to a trifecta of sexual aberrations: pornography, homosexuality, and transgenderism.
But despite the mainstream media's embrace of alternative lifestyles, lots of people (a majority of people?) resist the assault on traditional morality. Over at the Ruth Institute, a global interfaith coalition, founder Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. has given a voice to those who appreciate the beauty of human sexuality as God intended, and who recognize the depravity inherent in society's relaxation of sexual norms.
On July 17-18, the Ruth Institute presented its third annual Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, intended to educate the public about the millions of lives damaged by society's abandonment of sexual mores. The event was originally planned as a live conference onsite in Lake Charles, Louisiana; but because of the coronavirus, the conference was changed to a hybrid event, with both in-person participation and online involvement. Morse explained to the Register, “None of the evils we confronted – pornography, sexual abuse, gender confusion, coercive population control and dramatically falling fertility – are going to call a time-out for a pandemic.”
The Register talked with Jennifer Roback Morse about the agenda for the Summit. Unlike other conferences, she explained, this event did not rely exclusively on presentations of well-known speakers. Rather, the Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution brought together people who had suffered personally as a result of a sexually permissive society. “This is not a harmless ploy,” Morse said.
...It's a form of ideological terror that has killed a lot of people in the last fifty years. So the more we use the phraseology, the more we speak openly about how our culture has been hurt by these ideas, the more we help to identify people who have had their lives destroyed by this ideology.
Among the speakers who had personally suffered as a result of the LGBT subculture were Doug Mainwaring, a journalist who had left the homosexual lifestyle; Luis Ruiz, a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando, who left the LGBT lifestyle after that terrifying experience; and Lynn Meagher, a mother whose two gender-confused adult children have severed their relationship with her, leaving her to wonder where they are and to pray for their return to faith.
A panel on the transgender movement included parents of gender-confused children, desisters (people who lived as the opposite sex and gave it up), and resisters within the medical community. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse reported on their own experiences. Another panel featured three speakers: Faith Hakesly and Allen Hebert, who were themselves survivors of childhood abuse, and Sue Ellen Browder, the spouse of a survivor. And a third panel brought together three activists: Tracy Shannon, representing Mass Resistance of Texas; Thomas Drake of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP); and Cathy Cleaver Ruse, senior fellow at the Family Research Council, who was recognized for her work exposing and resisting the Fairfax County School Board.
Besides the “experience speakers,” those whose testimonies reveal the deep hurt caused by the sexual revolution, the Summit included the wise advice of experts. Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. is a former professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America, where he was a leader in the field of research on same-sex parenting and its implications for child development. Father Sullins, now a senior research associate of the Ruth Institute, spoke about the clergy abuse crisis, looking at past statistics and future trends. Melea Stephens, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in helping couples, explained how pornography has become a public health crisis, and focused on public policies which could help alleviate the problem. Chris McKenna, founder and CEO of Protect Young Eyes, introduced tools for parents and other educators which can help to protect children from exposure to pornography.
Intensive Leadership Training for Ruth Institute's “Ambassadors”
A new feature of the conference this year was the Ambassador's Training Program. That program, which was offered by invitation only, included presentations on Understanding the Global Sexual Revolution: Christian Anthropology, History and Social Systems, presented by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse; Medical Tragedies of the Sexual Revolution, a review of traditional Christian sexuality morality, as presented by Michelle Cretella, M.D.; Social Science Evidence, including issues such as post-abortion trauma, same-sex parenting, and children's needs for their parents, presented by Fr. Paul Sullins; and Human Rights Catastrophes of the Sexual Revolution (including population control and demographic winter), presented by Don Feder, a journalist and communications director for the World Congress of Families.
If you were unable to participate in the conference either online or in person, Dr. Morse reassured the Register that recordings from the Summit will be
available online in the near future. You can learn more about those recordings and about the Ruth Institute's other resources at the website, ruthinstitute.org.
Posted on: Saturday, July 11, 2020
“They may not be household names, but they have crucial information and first-hand experience about what the Sexual Revolution has done to individuals and society,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., President of The Ruth Institute, in describing the speakers for the upcoming Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, July 17-18 in Lake Charles, LA.
“Our speakers include professionals who have worked with these issues for years, and survivors who can bear witness to the trauma of a movement sold as liberation that’s resulted in the physical and spiritual enslavement of millions,” Morse said.
The speakers include:
Dr. Paul Church – a practicing urologist for over 35 years and Asst. Professor of Surgery at the Harvard Medical School who was fired for challenging his colleagues to tell the truth about the health consequences of LGBTQ behavior.
Sue Ellen Browder – a former Cosmopolitan journalist who’s appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows (including Oprah, The Today Show and EWTN) and is the author of the recently published Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.
Tracy Shannon -- When her husband of 15 years left her to live as a woman, she decided to combat the new sexual morality. As Director of MassResistance Texas, she’s fought Drag Queen Story Hours in libraries across the state.
Fr Paul Sullins, Ph.D. – Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute and a retired sociology professor who’s done pioneering work on the impact of same-sex parenting on children and the relationship between clergy sex abuse and homosexual ordination within the Catholic priesthood.
Dr. Michelle Cretella MD. – a pediatrician and full-time Executive Director of the American College of Pediatricians. Dr. Cretella is one of the world’s most outspoken critics of the gender ideology in pediatrics and the author of “Gender Dysphoria in Children and Suppression of Debate” in the Summer 2016 issue of Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
Luis Ruiz – wounded in the 2016 Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando, in which 50 died and 58 were injured. While hospitalized, he learned he was HIV-positive, causing him to reevaluate his life, leave the homosexual lifestyle, and return to the church in which he grew up. He now shares his message with audiences across the country.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. -- founder of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization that defends the family at home and in the public square and equips others to do the same. She was a campaign spokeswoman for California’s winning Proposition 8 campaign, defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. She has authored or co-authored five books and spoken around the globe on marriage, family and human sexuality. Her latest book is The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church was Right All Along. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, taught economics at Yale and George Mason Universities and was named one of the “Catholic Stars of 2013” on a list that included Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI.
Click here for the complete program for the 2020 Summit.
Click here to register to attend in person or by live streaming.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 07, 2020
The Ruth Institute is undaunted by the coronavirus shutdowns, lockdowns and regulations. The Third Annual Awards Dinner and Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution (July 17-18) will be a live event in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with on-line options. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., president of the Ruth Institute, stated, “We are determined to create opportunities for pro-family activists to get together, either in person at this live event, or online in small groups, as permitted by their local health regulations.”
Morse said: “The Summit will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help redefine the family movement. The encounter with experts and their analysis, the first-hand testimony of survivors, and the experience of veteran activists will inspire participants. They will come away with a wealth of information on how to get involved and make a difference, as well as inspirational stories from those who’ve survived the plagues of sexual abuse, pornography, the LGBT sub-culture and the transgender movement.”
Participants can connect with the Summit activities as an individual virtual participant or host a Watch Party of up to 10 participants. The “Watch Party” option is the Ruth Institute’s innovative response to the Coronavirus situation.
The Watch Party Package includes:
The "Virtual Conference Pass" includes:
To register yourself or your Watch Party, go here, and click the yellow Register button. Look for "Watch Party" or "Virtual Conference Pass." If you’re a member of the media, type in the special Code: WATCH.
Dr. Morse stressed, “Our live event will be in full compliance with all local health regulations. People need have no fear about attending in person. Pro-family activists who desire virtual options, for any reason, can still fully participate.”
Among the Summit speakers on Saturday July 18 are Journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor Luis Ruiz (both left the LGBT subculture), Dr. Michelle Cretella, M.D. (American College of Pediatricians), Journalist Brandon Showalter (Christian Post), Dr. Morse, Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. (Ruth Institute Research Associate), Melea Stephens (National Center on Sexual Exploitation), and Chris McKenna (Covenant Eyes).
Friday, July 17, the evening before the Summit, the Awards Dinner will feature a keynote speech by Sue Ellen Browder, a journalist and author of Subverted: How I helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement.
These inspiring speakers and discussions will empower you to have greater impact as we all #FightForFamily.
For the complete Summit program visit: http://www.ruthinstitute.org/summit-2020.
Posted on: Saturday, July 04, 2020
Ruth Institute Research Associate, Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., responded to the newly released 2019 Annual Report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the independent lay National Review Board (NRB) about on-going clerical sex abuse.
“The report showed a significant increase in both allegations and findings of sexual abuse by priests. The Ruth Institute, along with the National Review Board, believes this is due to a lack of sufficient oversight. Clergy sex abuse is out of the news. We think it should be news.”
Fr. Sullins has dealt extensively with this issue, having done reports on clerical sex abuse in 2018 and 2019. His analysis of the findings and recommendations from this latest report can be found here.
In summary, Fr. Sullins noted:
1. Cases of current, ongoing abuse: 37 -- almost three times as many allegations as have been reported in any previous year of the audit.
2. New reports of past abuse: 4,434 previously unreported incidents of abuse, in some cases going back decades, which were only made known in 2019.
3. Priests removed permanently from priestly ministry: 142 -- about one-tenth of all new priests ordained in the past decade.
4. The percentage of male and female victims is now roughly equal. In years past, the victims were predominately male.
The Ruth Institute endorses the recommendations of the National Review Board, which provides the USCCB these reports on an annual basis:
1. Every diocese should mandate parish-level audits. Currently, only 60% of dioceses require these audits.
2. Every diocese should require ongoing training and renewal of background checks. Currently, 25% and 15% respectively do not meet these requirements.
3. Clergy and laity must remain fully engaged about the safety of children and faithfulness of clergy.
Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D., concluded: “Given the tragic history of the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, which scarred the lives of so many, we must not become complacent. We must be vigilant to ensure no repetition of the scandals of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ’90s.”
Posted on: Tuesday, June 30, 2020
The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to be within 30 miles of a hospital in case of a botched abortion. “How can the pro-abortion movement, which claims to care about women, oppose something that is for the health and protection of the mother?” asked Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
“The Supreme Court’s liberal majority will do all it can to facilitate the Sexual Revolution, of which abortion is the crown jewel,” Morse said. “We’re told sex should be child-free, guilt-free and problem-free. If something inconvenient like conception occurs, abortion is the fail-safe.”
Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate of the Ruth Institute, said, “No one who welcomes the Supreme Court's latest decision can ever again claim to be against substandard ‘back-alley’ abortions. The Court's myopic decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton created this problem in the first place by preventing the adoption of federal standards for surgical abortions.
“Ample experience of women's brutal treatment at the hands of uncaring, self-serving abortion providers has shown that the abortion industry cannot regulate itself. Now the reasonable attempt by the people of Louisiana to ensure that the horrors of death mills such as Dr. Gosnell's in Pennsylvania can have no place in their state, have been thwarted by the self-appointed experts in medical care of the Supreme Court.”
Fr. Sullins will speak on post-abortion trauma at the Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution July 17-18 in Lake Charles, LA.
Posted on: Friday, June 26, 2020
by Paul Murano • ChurchMilitant.com • June 25, 2020
The sexual revolution, a revolt waged by modern man against God and His Sixth Commandment, will be taking the proverbial prosecutor's stand in Louisiana this July.
The Ruth Institute has scheduled its "Survivors' Summit 2020," a conference whose focus is "Surviving the Sexual Revolution." It will cover the gamut of sexual deviancy unleashed in the sexual revolution, from fornication to transgenderism. The Ruth Institute is a research and educational institute dedicated to supporting "individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown."
"Our speakers are not celebrities," Ruth Institute founder Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse told Church Militant. "They're people just like you" and experts in their field. "If you come you will be inspired ... and our experts will demonstrate that the Church's teaching has always been correct."
Morse also said that there is no hope to expect to win the war for souls through legal or judicial means. The courts, she claims, are now essentially lawless. Her grassroots aim is to equip people with information and moral truth in order to overcome the dark, spiritual deluge.
Since the invention and popularization of the birth control pill, a Pandora's box of sexual deviancy has become normalized throughout the Western world. The resultant confusion and pain has caused a new normal of walking wounded, for whom the conference will provide a safe space in which to tell the truth — restoring "sexual sanity to our culture, communities and churches." This Summit will cover the what, how, why, when, where and who of the sexual revolution — a revolution that continues to this day — and engage participants from diverse backgrounds in the #FightforFamily.
According to the Center for Family Justice, one in four women have been sexually abused in their lifetime, as well as one in six men. Those are the numbers for assaults that were not consensual. But those who survive the sexual revolution also include those who have consented to its great magnetic pull, who have been lured in by the strong winds of the culture, and this includes virtually everyone who has come of age in the 1960s through today.
Conference topics include surviving childhood sexual abuse, pornography addiction, the LGBT subculture and transgenderism. Other topics will focus on the global sexual revolution; Christian anthropology, history and social systems; medical tragedies of the sexual revolution; social science evidence about the sexual revolution; human rights catastrophes of the sexual revolution; population control; and the decline of the human family — explained in the film Demographic Winter.
Featured speakers include distinguished scholars and survivors, as well as journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse nightclub shooting survivor Luis Ruiz, both of whom left the LGBT subculture.
Also scheduled to speak is Ruth Institute sociologist Fr. Paul Sullins, author of the groundbreaking report, "Is Catholic Clergy Sex Abuse Related to Homosexual Priests?" which revealed a striking correlation between the rise in the number of homosexual priests and the explosion of clerical sex abuse. Sullins will address gender theory, the characteristics of homosexual relationships and parenting, and the implication of homosexual priests in the wave of child sex abuse that peaked in the 1980s.
"My goal," Sullins told Church Militant, "is to present the facts and evidence that will help persons struggling with the widespread misinformation and deception that gay parents or homosexual priests are benevolent, innocuous influences on the children in their care. The empirical evidence strongly indicates otherwise."
The conference will also include activists' panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.
The Keynote speaker is Sue Ellen Browder, journalist and author of Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement. Browder worked for Cosmopolitan magazine for years, writing what she calls "fake news" for potential victims of the sexual revolution. As an eyewitness to the birth of the revolution, Browder will talk about how two movements going in different directions — the women's movement and the sexual revolution — merged to become one movement leading to a Culture of Death.
The Ruth Institute calls itself "a global interfaith coalition equipping Christians to defend the family and build a civilization of love." Its Resource Center provides decades of research and educational tools to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture and other forms of family breakdown.
The group's website states that "Every person has the right to know his or her cultural heritage and genetic identity," and "Every child has a right to a relationship with their natural mother and father except for an unavoidable tragedy." It supports natural law on morality related to sexuality and human life, and "rejects the idea that a child is a problem to solve if you don't want one and an object to purchase if you do want one."
In the wake of the Supreme Court's June 15 Bostock v. Clayton County decision, Morse explains that the summit will analyze the many ways the sexual revolution needs the power of the State to do its destructive work.
"The Bostock ruling redefines 'female' and 'male' for purposes of law. ... This terrible ruling shows that the conservative legal establishment has no idea how to address sexual and social issues. The sexual revolution attacks both the individual and the family," she adds. "At our Summit, we'll take a hard look at some of the most destructive pathologies the global ruling class has inflicted on ordinary people."
The Survivor's Summit will take place in Lake Charles, Louisiana on July 17–18.
Posted on: Monday, June 22, 2020
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Bostock decision, the Ruth Institute’s Summit for Survivors of the Sexual Revolution takes on extreme urgency. The Summit, to be held July 17-18, in Lake Charles, LA, will analyze the many ways the Sexual Revolution needs the power of the State to do its destructive work.
Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., stated, “The Bostock ruling redefines “female” and “male” for purposes of law. The Obergefell decision redefined marriage. The Federalist Society vetted Gorsuch, appointed by Pres. Trump, who wrote the majority opinion. This terrible ruling shows that the conservative legal establishment has no idea how to address sexual and social issues. The Sexual Revolution attacks both the individual and the family. At our Summit, we’ll take a hard look at some of the most destructive pathologies the Global Ruling Class has inflicted on ordinary people.”
Expert presentations will include:
The program will also include testimony from Survivors of the Sexual Revolution, as well as activists’ panels, question and answer sessions and general discussions.
Among the participants on the Surviving the LGBT subculture panel are journalist Doug Mainwaring and Pulse Nightclub shooting survivor, Luis Ruiz. Both left the LGBT subculture.
Morse observed: “After the Bostock ruling, social conservatives of all faiths have realized beyond any shadow of a doubt: we are on our own. Participants at our Summit will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of redefining the direction of the social conservative movement. The encounter with experts and their analysis, the first-hand testimony of Survivors, and the experience of effective activists, will inspire participants. They will come away with new friends as well as practical tips on how to get involved and make a difference.”
Posted on: Thursday, January 23, 2020
by Paul Sullins
This article was first posted January 22, 2020, at The Public Discourse.
The unstated mythology of therapeutic “abortion care” is that pregnancies come in only two types: wanted pregnancies, all of which children are delivered, and unwanted pregnancies, all of which children are aborted. But that’s not true. At least one in seven abortions in the U.S. are of children that the mother reports were wanted. I recently found that the risk of depression, suicidality or anxiety disorders from such abortions was almost four times higher than for women who had aborted a child in an unwanted pregnancy. Mine is the first empirical study ever to examine these more distressing, invisible abortions.
I recently examined data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to see if wanting a pregnancy affected women’s level of psychological distress following an abortion. My results were published late last year in a study in the European medical journal Medicina. Add Health, widely acknowledged to be among the best representative data we have on the U.S. population, has been used in thousands of empirical scholarly studies. In addition to extensive measures of psychological health drawn from the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), Add Health asked almost 4,000 women at three points in time—ages 15, 22, and 28—whether they had ever been pregnant, how the pregnancy ended, and whether they wanted to have a child when they became pregnant.
Putting these together, I found that by age 28 the risk of affective psychological disorder—meaning depression, anxiety disorder, or serious thoughts of suicide—was almost four times higher (69 percent versus 18 percent) for women who had aborted a child in a wanted rather than an unwanted pregnancy, compared to those who had delivered children in such pregnancies. Clearly, the abortions of children in wanted pregnancies are much more disturbing for women, and their births much happier, than is the case with unwanted pregnancies.
Wanted-pregnancy abortions most often occur because the mother may want the child, while others involved do not. In the Add Health data I examined in the study, one in five women who had ever had an abortion said that they had aborted a pregnancy by which they had wanted to have a child. In patient surveys by abortion providers, over a third of women reported that they were acceding to the wishes of their partner or parents in having the abortion. A research review by the pro-life Elliott Institute estimates that “30 to 60 percent of women having abortions feel pressured to do so by other persons.”
There can be other pressures as well. In follow-up surveys that asked about their experience at a clinic, most women reported feeling uncertain or rushed to have an abortion, and two thirds reported little or no counseling. Last year’s movie Unplanned, based on the first-person account of former abortion-clinic director Abby Johnson, chillingly dramatized a typical clinic intake process, that more closely resembled sales pressure to have an abortion than it did a careful screening for certainty or potential mental-health concerns. Many women may understandably come to have a sense of buyer’s remorse or regret about their decision to have an abortion.
Remarkably, mine is the first empirical study ever to examine abortions of children in wanted pregnancies. For most researchers in this area, such abortions are invisible because they do not conform to the unstated binary mythology of “abortion care,” in which pregnancies come in only two types: wanted pregnancies, all of which children are delivered, and unwanted pregnancies, all of which children are aborted.
Reviewers and editors repeatedly reported that they “lacked a sense of” or were “perplexed” by the idea that women could look back and say that they actually had wanted to deliver a child they had aborted; although they acknowledged that women routinely deliver children in unwanted pregnancies, and that “very many women express some degree of ambivalence” at the clinic. More than one told me that women who had obtained an abortion must not have wanted their pregnancy by definition, and thus, in the Add Health interviews, they could not have responded the way they clearly did respond. The position-statement review by the AMRC codified this bias, explicitly presuming that all aborted pregnancies were unwanted, and thus defining the most distressing abortions out of existence.
Whitewashing away the most troubling abortions is not the only blind spot of our medical experts. Even if it were true that women did not “experience more mental health problems” with abortion compared to delivery, such statements crucially miss the point. The mental-health premise for widespread legal abortion was not merely that it would not do more psychological harm to women, but that it would benefit them, compared to having to deliver the child.
Although researchers have long disputed whether mental-health problems for women after abortion are disconcertingly large or insignificantly small, so far, after forty-five years of research, not a single study (to my knowledge) has ever found a statistically significant psychological benefit for women having abortions rather than childbirth. The declarations of “no harm” fail even to consider the fact that the idea of a “therapeutic abortion” to improve a woman’s mental health—which is the premise of the Roe/Doe decisions in the U.S., and the justification for legal abortion in most Western countries—has no basis in evidence.
What does benefit pregnant women’s mental health, research repeatedly finds, is childbirth. In my study, the risk of affective distress was 29
percent lower up to 13 years after the birth of one or more children in wanted pregnancies, and 12 percent lower even after delivering a child from
an unwanted pregnancy. The full psychological toll of an abortion, therefore, must be measured not just by the absolute pain a woman may (or may not)
feel, but also by the opportunity cost of missing the psychological benefit—the joy, growth, and even struggle—of the child she did not