Quotes of the Day

[Content Note: Reproductive rights, including discussion of proposals for mandated transvaginal ultrasounds.]

Yesterday I posted about how the Virginia state congress was all about abortion. Because nothing else in the state needs any attention. Our two quotes today come from the same person and are in regards to yesterday's VA legislative session.

“In the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.” -- Del. C. Todd Gilbert (who is the House Deputy GOP leader), generalizing on abortion and in support of mandatory ultrasound.

Del. David Englin (who proposed an amendment that would require a person's consent to be given before having an ultrasound--an amendment the VA delegates said "Um. Nope!" to) tweeted in response:
Va. House GOP Dpty Ldr: Abortion "a matter of lifestyle convenience" thus transvaginal ultrasound regardless of woman's consent is fine. Wow
"Wow" is one way to put it.

"Abortion is a sad and deeply serious occurrence. Individuals on both sides of this issue agree that it is tragic for all involved. I recognize that few women undergo the procedure lightly. It leaves scars, both mental and physical, that can last forever. I regret that my comments earlier today on the House floor were insensitive to that reality." -- Del. C. Todd Gilbert, later yesterday after receiving a lot of criticism.

Well, Del. Gilbert, your "apology" is horseshit. Shall I tell you why?

Abortion is not tragic. Abortion is neutral. In this context, abortion is simply a medical procedure (as opposed to spontaneous abortion, which is induced by the body). Circumstances around an individual abortion may or may not be "tragic". "Tragic" is subjective.

As far as your "scars" nonsense, abortion is a safe medical procedure. It does not increase the risk for breast cancer; it does not affect future fertility, increase the risk of future miscarriage or preterm delivery in subsequent pregnancies, nor cause or increase risk of birth defects. There is more associated risk with abortions done later in pregnancy because it requires more invasive aspects. However, that does not mean abortions are unsafe or outright dangerous.

There is no evidence that abortion causes long-term mental health problems in the vast majority of people who have abortions. Scientific study has proven this time and again (.pdf).
Another comprehensive review of the scientific literature, conducted in 2008 by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, likewise found that “the highest-quality research available does not support the hypothesis that abortion leads to long-term mental health problems. Lingering post-abortion feelings of sadness, guilt, regret, and depression appear to occur in only a minority of women.” (p. 449)
The most common feeling after an abortion is relief. And about those potential longer-term negative effects:
There is evidence that stigma around abortion, rather than the abortion itself, can have negative mental health consequences. A woman may have negative emotions after an abortion because she thinks her partner, family or community will condemn or exclude her for deciding to have an abortion. According to the APA, the “most methodologically strong studies...showed that interpersonal concerns, including feelings of stigma, perceived need for secrecy, exposure to antiabortion picketing, and low perceived or anticipated social support for the abortion decision, negatively affected women’s postabortion psychological experiences.”
"That reality" you speak of, Del. Gilbert, is one you've made up to justify legislatively-mandated ultrasound, which you do not support a person being able to consent to, in order to access a separate safe, legal medical procedure. Your remarks were not "insensitive", they were offensive, willfully ignorant, and specious.

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