Guest Column

The media hurts women by pushing misleading, outlier studies on abortion

women, woman, abortion

(Save the Storks) “Is abortion bad for women?”

This question has been answered time and time again by numerous scientific studies, which prove that, yes, abortion is bad for a woman’s health – physically and mentally. This is why abortion clinics are often required to inform women of the adverse effects of the procedure. Think of that one time you got your wisdom teeth removed. The doctors were sure to tell you about any pain you might experience afterwards. So you would think that anyone would support the idea that women should be fully informed before they make the life-changing decision to terminate their pregnancy.

However, pro-choice enthusiasts have decided that in the case of abortion, informed consent is an “undue burden.”

This is why sources like Cosmopolitan, The New York Times, Slate, Rewire, etc., were quick to report a new study published by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study followed one thousand women who sought abortions for five years. Most of these women received abortions and others were turned away due to the term of their pregnancies (out of these women, some gave birth, some miscarried, and some received abortions elsewhere).

The study concluded that “women who were denied an abortion reported significantly more anxiety symptoms and lower self-esteem and life satisfaction, but similar levels of depression, as women receiving abortions; outcomes improved or remained steady over time.” This study is one of many studies that have been performed to analyze the association between abortion and mental health.

So why did everyone get so worked up this time?

It’s safe to say that Cosmopolitan and The New York Times weren’t eager to report the findings of the many studies that preceded that of JAMA’s (here’s a list of thirty studies that proved the opposite). The strange thing about this “breakthrough” study is that its design is really very limited and therefore, yielded highly misleading results. 

An observational study is, by nature, slightly unreliable, especially when it has a sample size of only one thousand women, observed over the relatively short span of five years, who are all abortion-minded. Lacking randomization and an effective sample size, theses findings are far from credible. It’s painful to see liberal news sources promote this study as the end-all-be-all regarding the effects of abortion on women, when far more credible studies have reported the opposite for years.

If we care for women, we should want them to know all of the facts.

This past July, Sage Open Medicine published a study which observed more than eight thousand women of all different pregnancy outcomes (not all abortion-minded) over thirteen years. These results joined the slew of studies that have confirmed an association between abortion and a risk of mental health disorders.

Oddly enough, no major news sources reported the Sage Open Medicine study, despite the fact that it is a far more in-depth and holistic view of the issue than the JAMA study presented.

While JAMA observed a sample size of only one thousand women, Sage Open Medicine had a sample size of over eight thousand women, which is much more likely to yield accurate results.

JAMA studied its subjects for five years and Sage Open Medicine conducted the study over a thirteen year period, which allows for the consideration of the fact that women who chose abortion might not be negatively affected in terms of mental health until years later. By selecting only abortion-minded subjects, who would all likely politically identify as “pro-choice,” JAMA may have benefited from participant bias.

The most misleading aspect of the study, however, is the finding that not only is abortion not harmful, but it is actually more harmful to be turned away from an abortion (in the short-term).

Why is this so misleading? Well, if a woman goes into an abortion clinic wanting an abortion and is turned away due to the extent of her pregnancy, she is undoubtedly going to be upset and anxious. Aren’t we, as humans, hardwired to get a little upset when we don’t get what we want, when we want it? This would, without exception, be the case when a woman is denied a desire like having an abortion.

So if the Sage Open Medicine study is far more in-depth, did not yield misleading results, and also confirmed what other studies have already proven to be true, why didn’t news sources around the world report on it? Why is it that the only study the general public is aware of is the recent JAMA study?

It’s no lie that the mainstream media is biased when it comes to the issue of abortion.

This biased and uninformed reporting will continue to push our culture further away from the value of life. We, as a pro-life community, must be active in sharing the truth within our own communities of discourse, in order to reaffirm the value of life for both women and their children.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published at Save the Storks and is reprinted here with permission.

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