Disturbing News out of South Dakota
In South Dakota this week, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the state can require doctors to warn women that they face an increased risk of suicide if they have an abortion. It’s a deeply disturbing conclusion, especially since there is no proven correlation between abortion and suicide-risk.
As Jodi Jacobson at RHRealityCheck points out, this is nothing short of “legally-mandated lying.”
Creating and disseminating false “medical findings” on everything from abortion and depression and suicide, to abortion and breast cancer, to abortion and “fetal pain” are key to the strategy of the anti-choice movement. Under the guise of “informed consent,” they are forcing doctors to use fake or manipulated data to misinform women who simply do not want to or can not continue a pregnancy. Every one of the claims listed above and others have been debunked by medical professionals and bodies ranging from the World Health Organization to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute to the American Pediatric Association. But never mind that: The court considered and gave weight to junk science to reach a decision that disconnects real evidence from law and real medicine from women’s lives.
The studies used in this case presented a correlation between abortion and suicide, but it doesn’t seem that the studies took into account other pre-existing factors like poverty, domestic violence, mental health issues, or age at the time of pregnancy. Certain factors probably predispose women to have both unwanted pregnancies and suicidal tendencies. But then again, the court ruled that conclusive proof of causation was not required anyway.
And if it wasn’t bad enough, don’t forget: South Dakota already requires parental notification, visiting a counseling center before an abortion, and the longest mandated waiting period in the nation (72 hours).
People seeking abortions should have accurate information about all of their options. Information should support a woman, help her make a decision for herself, and enable her to take care of health and well-being. Information shouldn’t have the intent of coercing, shaming, or judging a woman—or use fear tactics to make long-debunked correlations looks like hard science.