Friday, 24 January 2014

Shame on THIS Magazine

THIS magazine's 4,000-word cover story, "No Choice: Why the pro-choice movement won't let women grieve after abortion", is a piece of crap.

First the title, sheesh.

Next the deck (likely not written by author):
The anti-abortion movement has newly latched onto Post-Abortion Syndrome, a controversial diagnosis that it claims mimics PTSD.
No. Not 'newly latched onto'.

The tactic is more than 30 years old as the article itself acknowledges a few paragraphs down.

Next, your de rigeur pseudonymous, but like totally believable victim of the piece, "Yana", who is 23 years old but who believed her "semi-boyfriend" when he told her she couldn't get pregnant if he pulled out.

Takeaway from that: Yana is more than a little credulous.

There's an 'angry-looking nurse", stainless steel and Yana's "legs are pushed back".

Right. Abortion is performed by angry, heartless people. (The hospital is identified, by the way, as Mt Sinai, one of the best hospitals in Toronto.)

Afterward, Yana is grieving. OK. There are as many reactions to abortion as there are women who have them. (In the US, it's estimated that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion during her life. In Canada, probably fewer but still, that's a lot of women.)

Then we are introduced to PAS and its proponents proselytizers. The author, Rebecca Melnyk, concedes that reputable researchers and professionals question its existence.

Then she states that "abortion rights advocates, wary and dismissive of PAS, are also largely indifferent to any need for counselling."

After several more meandering paragraphs, we get this:
Post-abortion counselling is an available option at other abortion clinics across Canada. [Joyce] Arthur knows of at least two in Vancouver. Very few attend. Other parts of the country? Arthur polls a pro-abortion right listserv, of which she’s a member. The messages roll in from abortion clinics. Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, and Yellowknife all have services.

So, there are counselling services available.

Melnyk goes to Everywoman's Health Centre in Vancouver, "an abortion clinic that provides free, non-judgmental counselling services" and talks to Erin Mullan, a counsellor with more than 20 years of experience.

And misquotes her. Melynk's quote:
For the small number of women [Mullan] refers out to other counsellors who offer long-term support, abortion is not the main cause of negative feelings, but rather, “it opens a door of pain.”

What Erin actually said [private communication, quoted here with permission]:
I said "the abortion experience can be a doorway that other pain walks through." It's something I say often in counselling so I know.

Somewhere in there, the evil feminists are rolled out (emphasis mine);
That same month, on a warm afternoon in Toronto Miriam McDonald, an editor at the Marxist newspaper Spartacist Canada, struts up and down a hallway at the Ontario Institute of Secondary Education at an International Women’s day rally. “Abortion is just a medical procedure like getting a wart off, except it’s all politicized,” she says. “A woman’s capacity to control her fertility opens the doors to full equality. That’s why it’s … stigmatized.” Another woman standing next to her in a baseball cap, handing out newspapers, says post-abortive women need counselling, not to overcome negative feelings related to abortion, but rather, to cope with society’s stigma and culture of shame. Three young people in lime green shirts with the words “reproductive freedom fighters” scurry back and forth.

More glurge, then another pseudonymous "victim", who is not sorry about her decision to abort, but "feels guilty for not feeling guiltier".


Now we get biographical. Turns out Melnyk had an abortion too and felt "shame" and "damned".

Then, back to Yana again who is painting a ceramic (cup?) for "a friend's new baby". Yana is "working on not feeling guilty".


The piece is a very strange amalgam of correct information, misinformation and irrelevant information. It rambles and wanders and badly needed a competent editor.

It is weighted heavily towards the fictional PAS side, while acknowledging that PAS exists only in the tiny minds of fetus fetishists.

Nowhere is there any evidence that the "pro-choice movement won't let women grieve after abortion".

In short, it is tabloid crap of the most scurrilous sort. Don't waste your time on it.

THIS Magazine used to be a good progressive publication. Shame on you.

For the record, pro-choice people do not accept that PAS is anything but a made-up scare tactic. Pro-choice people do accept that there is a wide range of reactions among people who have abortions. And ALL of them are valid.


Niles said...

Good of them to have a fall back position after having 'abortion causes cancer' shot out from under them with a howitzer.

Handily, they've settled on a 'mental' condition, rather than that trickier physiological condition bcuz we allz know PTSD totally is just psychological guilt and if they claim getting an abortion causes psychological guilt then alakaSham!1!! they are totes the same as PTSD which is getting all the Very Serious News.

Nevermind that PTSD is being proven to have physiological triggers making profound changes in the brain and is a lot different than a lot of non-professional hand waving diagnosis of *guilt*.
*If* women are having such a traumatic reaction to events around having an abortion, it's PTSD!!! not some special made up crap!
Also too. If abortions cause PTSD (rather than traumatic events around abortions, then miscarriages, etc also cause PTSD.
Also too too. If they are going to make the claim it's the surgical assault and invasion on a woman's body that causes PAS, then what about every surgery causing such an effect? Or are they really seriously going to skirt the idea that surgical abortion...(or are they also including chemical abortion???) is equal to the trauma of rape?

Beijing York said...

Very disappointed that such a crappy article was published by THIS Magazine. I totally agree with this: “Abortion is just a medical procedure like getting a wart off, except it’s all politicized,” she says. “A woman’s capacity to control her fertility opens the doors to full equality. That’s why it’s … stigmatized.” And it is societal shaming that makes it a traumatic issue for SOME women who choose the procedure (being forced is another matter altogether with its implications having more to do with emotional power dynamics).

I'm glad to hear that counseling services are provided for those women who request it. But that misquoted counsellor is quite correct about more intensive therapy being required for those who have issues that extend beyond the experience of an abortion.

marvelist said...

I didn't see the original article but am sadly shocked that they would run something so biased and inaccurate. As for the counselling thing, that is utter bullshit. I had an abortion a few years ago and I had to, HAD TO because it was mandatory policy at this clinic, see a counsellor both before and immediately after the procedure.

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