The Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette (OR) has a site called Take Care Down There which apparently receives some Title X money (your money originally).
Goofy, if you ask me. Goofy enough to be chuckled at and ignored, which means I vote no.
A relatively recent study from Norway finds a link between abortion and subsequent depression. Titled, Abortion and depression: A population-based longitudinal study of young women, the research was conducted by Willy Pedersen and published in the 2008 Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, volume 36, pages 424–428. Here is the abstract:
Induced abortion is an experience shared by a large number of women in Norway, but we know little about the likely social or mental health-related implications of undergoing induced abortion. International studies suggest an increased risk of adverse outcomes such as depression, but many studies are weakened by poor design. One particular problem is the lack of control for confounding factors likely to increase the risk of both abortion and depression. The aim of the study was to investigate whether induced abortion was a risk factor for subsequent depression.
Methods: A representative sample of women from the normal population (n5768) was monitored between the ages of 15 and 27 years. Questions covered depression, induced abortion and childbirth, as well as sociodemographic variables, family relationships and a number of individual characteristics, such as schooling and occupational history and conduct problems. Results: Young women who reported having had an abortion in their twenties were more likely to score above the cut-off point for depression (odds ratio (OR) 3.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.0–6.1). Controlling for third variables reduced the association, but it remained significant (OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.7–5.6). There was no association between teenage abortion and subsequent depression.
Conclusions: Young adult women who undergo induced abortion may be at increased risk for subsequent depression.
This was a longitudinal study with very high response rates at all response times over the course of the effort (from 97% at time one to 82% at time four). The research team used questions about depression from the Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90), a well-accepted mental health measure.
Dr. Pedersen further describes the strengths of this study and notes other recent work which found a link between abortion and mental health.
This study is robust in several respects. The response rate is high, respondents were observed over a considerable length of time, and measures of the key variables are well validated. We have also controlled for a large number of other factors pertaining to the lives of the women that are likely to affect whether a pregnancy is brought to term or aborted, and the likelihood that depression will set in at a later date. Nonetheless, the sample’s abortion rate does indicate either underreporting or a slight non-response bias. The sample is, moreover, relatively small, making the abortion and childbirth groups small as well. The study would have benefited from a larger sample.
Studies in this area present an inconsistent picture. Most identify abortion as a mental health risk factor, but they typically have selected samples, poor response rates and/or inadequate control for
other aspects of the women’s lives that could affect future risk of depression. The most robust study was conducted in New Zealand [4,8]. This study found that abortion seemed to be a risk factor for poor mental health, including the likelihood of depression.
Reactions to abortion are, one may assume, strongly coloured by the local sociocultural climate. A sense of guilt, loss and lower self-esteem are assumed to mediate between an induced abortion and later onset of depression . New Zealand’s abortion laws are much more stringent than Norway’s , and this in itself could possibly increase the risk of social stigmatization and negative sentiment regarding abortion. It is therefore worth noting that such reactions are also experienced by many Norwegian women following an abortion. In light of this finding, women who terminate a pregnancy would probably benefit from postabortion counselling.
Next week, the APA Mental Health and Abortion Task Force report is slated to be considered by the APA Council of Representatives. If that report adopts the findings of this and the New Zealand research reports noted in the Pedersen article, it would represent a departure from prior APA positions. Stay tuned…
Sally Kern, with help from my friend and colleague at Grove City College, T. David Gordon provides today’s open forum discussion.
Mrs. Kern is in the news today about a speech she gave in Norman, OK about her entrance into government and her role as a “culture warrior.” She says:
“I started praying about whether or not the Lord wanted me to run,” Kern said. “And the more I prayed, the more I felt He did.”
Kern said she expected to “run, lose and just be a much better government teacher.”
“But lo and behold I won,” she said. “And so here I am, and I’m not the typical legislator. The Lord showed me right off the bat that I’m not supposed to be. As a matter of fact, my Lord made it very clear to me that I am a cultural warrior. And you know I tried to say ‘no’ to that, too, ’cause that’s pretty hard. But, anyway, that’s where I am.”
I cannot discern however, what Mrs. Kern believes government should do. On one hand, she talks about preserving the founders reliance on “one true religion” and on the other she indicates that
“Government cannot force people to change, and yet we see that’s what government is doing,” she said. “Every time government passes another law, they are taking away some of our freedoms.”
I do agree that government cannot force people to change, but I am unclear how government is making people change. If homosexuals pursuing the democratic process to elect legislators and pass laws is more threatening than terrorism, then what would winning the culture war against homosexuality look like? I have a clearer picture in my mind about winning over a foreign aggressor would look like. But if homosexuals are using the democratic process (elections, laws, courts) to pursue their interests, then how will the Christian culture warriors win? What will victory look like?
I fear that many colleagues on the religious right want the coercive power of the state to enforce a particular view of morality, one that comports with their understanding of Christianity. I might like others to believe like me but I surely think it is futile to seek the state to bring it about. Closer to the therapy world, where I usually labor, I do not believe that counselors should use the coercive power of the counseling relationship to attempt to inculcate religious fruit. We can provide information but the results are not in our hands.
On this point, last school year, Religion prof at GCC, T. David Gordon presented a paper titled, “Religious Arguments for Separating Church and State” at our annual Center for Vision and Values conference. I was edified by this presentation and link to it here. A couple of excerpts gives the tone and direction of the paper:
In the so-called “culture wars” of the late twentieth century, one commonly hears allegations that the separation of church and state reflects and promotes a “secularist” agenda. It is certainly true that most secularists (such as Paul Kurtz, in the 1973 Humanist Manifesto II) wish to separate church and state. However, many religious individuals and societies favor such separation also; therefore it is misleading to refer to separation of church and state as a secular or secularist idea. The purpose of this brief survey is to list some of the religious arguments that have been presented in favor of separation, so that religious people may consider those arguments as “friendly” to their faith-commitments, rather than hostile to them.
and regarding individual liberty:
For Protestant Christianity, the doctrine of the conscience plays a very important role.
Unlike the Baltimore Catechism of the Catholic Church, where conscience normally appears only in sections dealing with Penance or Confession, some Protestant confessions have an entire chapter devoted to it, such as the Westminster Confession’s chapter on “Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience.” Within this understanding, an action or belief is only morally approved when it is a sincere act, an act that accords with conscientious faith. The conscience is thus “free” from false authority to serve God, the true Authority. Any professed faith or outwardly religious act that is merely done to avoid civil penalties is not an act of any true moral worth. When the beliefs and practices of the church are prescribed by the State with its coercive powers, this does not promote true religion, but hypocrisy. For many Protestants, therefore, one of the best ways to preserve true liberty of the individual conscience is to leave that conscience entirely free, in religious matters, from considerations of civil consequences.
Some laws which coerce moral behavior are needed to protect us all from each other. I am very glad when going to my car at night at the mall that the threat of punishment from the state might prevent some would be attackers from carrying out the desires of their evil hearts. However, as T. David states so well, some (many, which ones?) matters of personal liberty should be off limits from the state.
With that background, I will turn it over to the forum. I encourage you to read Dr. Gordon’s well-crafted paper. What is the proper role of a Christian in governance? How are legislators to govern in a plural society? Given that Christians were so involved in the founding of the nation, why did they create such protections for pluralism of belief, including the ability to believe nothing and pursue happiness via that worldview? How do we best advance the mission of the church? In which vision of governance is personal and religious liberty best achieved?
Recently, a fuss arose over a quote regarding HIV and young men who have sex with men (MSM) from Regina Griggs in a OneNewsNow article regarding youth and sexual identity. She said (in context):
Research shows that individuals often go through periods of gender and sexual confusion as they grow from children to teenagers to adults. Griggs wonders why, then, would schools opt to send children along a dangerous path. “Why are we allowing people to tell them, ‘Try it — you might like it?’ Over 70 percent of young kids 13- to 24-years-old, men having sex with men, are now HIV-positive,” Griggs notes. (see editor’s note)
Griggs here is describing prevalence, which is the total number of people in a population with a certain disease at a given time. However, this is clearly incorrect, as other bloggers have pointed out.
She may have been referring to a fact sheet at the CDC called HIV/AIDS Among Men Who Have Sex with Men when she was quoted by ONN.
In the United States, HIV infection and AIDS have had a tremendous effect on men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM accounted for 71% of all HIV infections among male adults and adolescents in 2005 (based on data from 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting), even though only about 5% to 7% of male adults and adolescents in the United States identify themselves as MSM.
The ONN editors recently added a note pointing out the 71% figure from the CDC fact sheet.
This simply says that men having sex with men accounted for 71% of infections among all males reporting infections in 2005. MSM was a large driver of infections reported in 2005. While this is a sobering statistic, it does not mean what Mrs. Griggs said it means.
I do not know what the actual prevalence of MSM aged 13-24 with HIV is but it would need to be over 800,000 cases in order for her statistic to be true. This does not seem possible.
I arrived at that number by looking US Census data for 2005 which pegged the number of males in the US between 15-24 at about 19.7 million. The CDC estimates 5-7% of this age group as being MSM which yields 1.2 million males. If 70% of this group was HIV positive, then that would mean Mrs. Griggs is claiming that about 840,000 young men have HIV. Of course, these numbers are estimates since I rounded figures and used the Census data starting with age 15 and not 13 as the CDC does.
According to the CDC fact sheet, there are not that many people living with AIDS at present:
At the end of 2005, an estimated 217,323 MSM (191,362 MSM and 25,961 MSM who inject drugs) were living with AIDS, representing 67% of male adults and adolescents living with AIDS and 52% of all people living with AIDS.
These numbers are staggering enough without exaggeration or misinterpretation. I commented here because many have asked about the validity of these numbers and the quote made me curious about the scope of the issue.
After posting the review of Bieber, I ran across a link to the following excerpt of a book by Michael Quinn which raises strong doubts about how poor father-son relationships could cause homosexuality.
He notes that fathers and sons in our culture have historically had “issues.”
For sixty years, various studies have demonstrated that a significant percentage, perhaps a majority, of American males have always felt estranged from the fathers who raised them. As early as 1928, Meyer F. Nimkoff found that 60 percent of the 1,336 males he studied (average age twenty-two) did not feel close enough to their fathers to confide in them, and the father-son relationship was distant in other significant ways. He concluded: “If sons withhold trust from their fathers, it appears they deny his leadership and limit association with him, also.” Researchers have also noted that one-third to one-half of American teenage boys and adult men regard their fathers as “distant,” unaccepting, “cold or indifferent.” The psychiatrist Irving Bieber found that 37 percent of the heterosexual males he studied even said they “hated” their fathers, which was paralleled by a study that 21 percent of male heterosexuals at the University of Utah disliked their fathers.
As indirect evidence of this widespread father-son emotional dysfunction, studies of thousands of American adolescents since the 1930s have shown that only 5-22 percent of the young men “preferred” their fathers. In contrast, 34-76 percent of young men listed their mother as the preferred parent, even though the surveys also allowed sons to indicate equal preference or no preference. These statistics apply to young men in families without divorce. In addition, 82 percent of males in a 1978 study felt alienated from their fathers, while a 1985 study reported that only 8 percent of 500 male adolescents felt “loved” by their fathers.
Thus, claiming father-son emotional distance as the explanation for male homosexuality is similar to claiming that right-handedness causes homosexuality merely because most homosexuals are right-handed. The equation “abdicating fathers, homosexual sons” is a theory based on isolating homosexual experiences from human experiences generally. Typically, authors whose “reparative therapy of male homosexuality depends on “a failed relationship to father” do not acknowledge such well-known studies of father-son “failure” among American males generally. As the psychiatrist Richard Green, whose own research was originally based on the assumption of parental causation, has observed: “A gnawing question in these studies is what percent of heterosexuals answer all items [concerning father-son relationships] in the ‘homosexual direction’ and what percent of homosexuals answer all items in the ‘heterosexual direction’.” Because of such inconsistencies, Green returned to genetic or other biological determinants for homosexuality.
Quinn proposes that a son who is different in the gender sense might actually pull away from dad and not the other way around.
Another fallacy involves attaching great significance to the finding of many studies that homosexual men are “more likely” to describe their fathers as “distant, hostile, or rejecting” than heterosexual sons are. Such a pattern is unsurprising in a culture that has negative judgments about homosexuality. In other words, since both heterosexual and homosexual American males report unsatisfactory relationships with their fathers, the higher incidence of strain between homosexual sons and their fathers is more likely a result of the sons’ “homosexual tendencies” rather than the cause