Author archives: Moira Gaul

Post-abortion Mental Health Effects, Awareness, and Politics

by Moira Gaul

October 8, 2008

Thursday October 9th, 10 am to noon, FRC will host a panel discussion of distinguished researchers and clinicians on the topic of abortion and mental health. Challenging the recent special report findings of the American Psychological Association (APA), the panelists will present and discuss the scientific body of evidence which establishes a causal link between abortion history and subsequent mental health effects including post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, and substance abuse. Clinicians will discuss direct, long-term psychological and psychiatric provision of professional care to women and men they’ve treated for post-abortion psychological sequelae.

Additionally, results from a recent poll commissioned by the Illinois-based Elliot Institute will be shared to highlight Americans’ views on post-abortion awareness and their political bent. FRC’s own Tom McClusky will then provide comment on how anti-women’s health policy, ignoring the negative mental health effects of abortion, could proceed and affect protections against coercive abortion, statutory rape, and general women’s and maternal health.

Please join us for what will be an eye-opening and in-depth review of the science, recent polling, and implications of the recent wreckless APA findings.

An Award Well Deserved - A Job Well Done

by Moira Gaul

September 24, 2008

The Presidential Volnteer Service Award was bestowed upon a well deserved group of organizations and individuals, including Heartbeat International and Care Net affiliated pregnancy centers, last week. Daily coming alongside women and men in need of emotional, educational, and informational support and services, pregnancy care centers exemplify compassionate outreach across the country. The movement represents unsung servants of care and a model for faith-based efforts.

Throckmorton Commentary on APA Abortion and Mental Health Report

by Moira Gaul

August 27, 2008

Warren Throckmorton, associate professor of psychology and fellow for psychology and public policy at Grove City College’s Center for Vision and Values, does a great job of highlighting the major flaws of the recent APA (American Psychological Association) report on abortion and mental health in a Washington Times op-ed today.

He exposes the organization’s conflicting position since 1969 holding abortion as a civil right, the fact that APA leadership has continually refused to meet with women who claim adverse health effect following abortion, the one study basis of report headline conclusion, and other criticisms by pro-choice researcher/reviewer Fergusson.

Susan G. Komen Foundation has ties to country’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood

by Moira Gaul

May 16, 2008

Please click below to see the facts on the Komen Foundation- Planned Parenthood ties including the fact that Susan G. Komen for the Cure awarded 72 grants to Planned Parenthood afflilates during the years 2000 through 2005. When stopping to speak with a Susan G. Komen for the Cure sidewalk volunteer over the past Mother’s Day weekend, I was greatly alarmed to hear that she was not aware of the Komen-Planned Parenthood connection. This older woman stated that she was pro-life and shocked to hear of any Komen Foundation involvement with Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

You can read more about the Komen - Planned Parenthood ties and learn of alternate organizations to donate to in the fight against breast cancer from our friends at the Biothethics Defense Fund:

Pro-life citizens who are interested in fighting this deadly disease should be aware that one breast cancer organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has a policy of offering financial support to abortion providing facilities.”

Statutory Rape Crime Statistics

by Moira Gaul

April 29, 2008

The following research is cited from an academic review paper published in 2007, “Statutory Rape Crime Relationships between Juveniles and Adults: A Review of Social Scientific Research,” (Aggression and Violent Behavior, 2007)

In an analysis of the national Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), data from 21 states from 1996 through 2000 indicated that of the 7,557 statutory rape incidents reported to law enforcement:

  • 95% involved female victims with male offenders.
  • About 60% of the female adolescents were aged 14 or 15.
  • The median age difference between the female adolescent and the male was six years.
  • Approximately 45% of the male participants were age 21 or over, 25% were age 24 or older.

The paper went on to state, “The studies generally show that the relationships with adults and older partners comprise a large percentage of all sexual relationships for girls of a younger age. A number of factors may contribute to this: The younger a girl is when she begins engaging in sexual activity, the more likely she is to be a risk taker, have poorer judgment, or come to early initiation through a history of sexual abuse that would orient her toward older partners.”

While I would not agree with all of the conclusions drawn in this scientific review paper, it does report research which elucidates the fact that a large percentage of sexually active teen girls have, at one time or another, been sexually involved with an adult male. The experiences cause and place girls and adolescent females at high-risk for negative psycho-social and health outcomes.

Reflections on Controversial Yale Art

by Moira Gaul

April 25, 2008

Last week, the Associated Press reported the story that a Yale University art student over a nine-month period had artificially inseminated herself, self-induced repeated abortions and saved the blood to showcase in her senior performance art project.

In the media blitz that followed, it was soon revealed that the student had feigned both the pregnancies and miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a womans body, said Helaine Klasky, a university spokeswoman.

Yale officials went on to issue the following statement, “Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.”

We would agree with Yale’s statement that the reported project would have “violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.” Reflecting on the artistic interpretation of the project though, one could view this student’s purported experiments with her body for her art as “choice” to the nth degree. The pro-abortion movement would like for women to have the complete “freedom” to do what they would like with their bodies for their own individual purposes, regardless of the harms it may cause to them or others. In an effort to avoid pregnancy, anything goes including repeated drug-induced abortions or miscarriages with poorly regulated drugs which can disrupt women’s regular cycles, and disregard for resultant physical and psychological consequences.

In the end, it was not so much the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a womans body that was highlighted, but rather clarity that the project operated within a vacuum of a misplaced notion of both freedom and true choice; devoid of care for the woman, the bond between a mother and her child, and the miracle of the beginning of life.

The Failure of the Condom Culture

by Moira Gaul

March 17, 2008

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National STD Prevention conference presented research showing that 1 in 4 teen girls (or 3.2 million) have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In addition, findings from two studies presented demonstrate that of young women receiving contraceptives, over half are not receiving appropriate counseling, screening, and treatment for STIs.

Taken together, these findings represent a simmering STD epidemic among our young people and a tremendous negligence in care for girls most at risk for contracting STDs. The call for an effective public health prevention strategy could not be more urgent. The current contraceptive-based education approach offered in 75 percent of U.S. schools not only relies on an overly narrow focus on physical health that is spurring an epidemic, but it also completely ignores the emotional consequences of premarital sex. Abstinence education is increasingly providing an efficacious and holistic approach to protect our young people’s current and future health.

While the proponents of comprehensive or contraceptive-based sex education and much of the medical and public health community continue to pay lip service to prevention for our young people, these CDC results offer fresh evidence that the focus is on facilitating high-risk behavior rather than true primary and even secondary prevention. The risk-avoidance or sexual abstinence-until-marriage strategy must be adopted to help reverse the STD epidemic. It’s an evidence-based approach with proven results for reversing the HIV/AIDS trends in several African countries—let’s give it a chance in this country.

(See also the FRC Press release: “New STD Data Shows Need for Abstinence Education, Says Family Research Council”)

Spending Too Little on Abstinence

by Moira Gaul

May 17, 2007

A new study by the research firm Mathematica has been hailed by advocates of the sexual revolution and groups that have spent decades providing contraceptives and abortions to minor children without parental knowledge. Funded by the federal department of Health and Human Services, Mathematica examined four abstinence education programs for elementary students and middle-schoolers. The study found that after an average of five years, the students who had taken the abstinence instruction were no less likely to engage in sexual intercourse than students who had not received the instruction at all.

At first glance, the results appear disappointing. It would have been a relief to find that a small investment in a middle school program could overcome the raw messages of our sexualized culture. It would be especially encouraging because of the ever-higher stakes associated with premarital sex today.

But that’s not the whole story - either of abstinence education or of the need for intervention in the lives of vulnerable teens. The researchers chose to ignore the abstinence programs most recommended for study, and focused on programs that have since been revised. The scope and the depth of abstinence programs were ignored, and a narrow few chosen for examination. These are not minor points because the stakes in sexual politics today are life and death.

Fueled by multiple sexual partners, the number and variety of sexually transmitted diseases are growing. One virus, HPV, includes strains that cause cervical cancer. The human immuno-deficiency (HIV) virus is lethal and incurable. Latent chlamydia infections are rendering an increasing number of women infertile. Standard antibiotics are proving less effective against gonorrhea. Out-of-wedlock childbearing is rising (more than 36% of all births in the United States according to the National Center for Health Statistics).

Every government official, no less than every parent, would have been thrilled if a 6th grade course of study that warned of these deadly risks were enough to avert them, or reduce their prevalence sharply. It isn’t. Still, there is no reason to gloat and call for the end of abstinence, as liberal groups like the Sexuality Information and Educational Council of the United States and Advocates for Youth have done. William Smith of SIECUS crowed that Mathematica’s work “should serve as the final verdict on the failure of the abstinence-only industry in this country.”

That’s a hypocritical point of view when considering the fact that our government has spent 12 dollars on the Planned Parenthood approach for every dollar spent on true abstinence projects as STDs and out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed.

Planned Parenthood would, of course, like to zero-fund its competitors. Abstinent kids don’t spend any time in the clinics PP has erected in urban centers across America.

With lives at stake, abstinence programs face the challenge of improving the services they deliver, and fortunately most have done so. A recent HHS-sponsored conference in Baltimore unveiled evidence from more than two dozen studies that such programs produce significant results in adolescent behavioral outcomes. The truth is, programs that are more intensive, that are genuinely comprehensive (that is, they address the need for risk elimination across a range of behaviors, including alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence prevention), are showing real benefit. Moreover, it is crucial for risk elimination programs that they not “give up” on kids and discount them as forever prone to high-risk behaviors. Older teens need powerful reinforcing messages whether or not they have experimented with drugs, tobacco, or sex. Youth who respond to reinforcement are often the most effective peer educators of all.

One example of intensive programming is Best Friends in Washington, D.C. An independent study of this program was published in the peer-reviewed journal Adolescent and Family Health in 2005. The young women who participate in the program are called “Diamond Girls,” and they hail from some of the District’s toughest wards. Study author Robert Lerner Ph.D. found that the Diamond Girls “are substantially less likely to smoke, drink, take illegal drugs, and have sex than a comparable sample” of youth in the Centers for Disease Control’s surveys.

Lerner goes on to say that the finding that Diamond Girls are 120 times more likely to abstain from sex than their peers “is a result so strong that it is unheard of in practically any empirical research.” Programs like Best Friends are succeeding because they aim high and sell no one short. Apparently, this message is getting through more broadly, as macro U.S. statistics have shown steady increases in the proportion of teens practicing abstinence and decreases in teenage pregnancy and abortions.

Congress should take note. It’s time to take the sexual revolution head on and to redress the terrific damage it continues to do to boys and girls. It’s time to give today’s wise and effective abstinence programs more funding, not less.

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