Why Catholic Hospitals are Messed Up

In the above video, Hemant Mehta discusses several procedures that Catholic hospitals refuse to perform under the excuse of religious objection. We’re not talking about an individual objecting. We’re literally talking about entire hospitals refusing to provide procedures relating to reproductive health. This is a major problem because Catholic hospitals are EVERYWHERE. There are even places in the US where you’re hard pressed to find a hospital that isn’t Catholic.

Hemant brings up the fact that many of these hospitals are opposed to tubal ligations (tying women’s tubes). This is news to me, and it’s disturbing to learn. I was part of the Catholic pro-life movement for years, and at least in my area, the only arguments I’d ever heard against tubal ligations were against them being forced on people, which is something I think most people can agree is not a good thing.

I do remember my parents saying that they didn’t approve of that surgery, or of vasectomies, but their hatred of contraception focused primarily on things that they believed could lead to abortion like hormonal birth control and IUDs, and things they believed might encourage premarital sex like condoms. Something like this is usually done by older couples, often people who have already had children and don’t want anymore. As a result, this procedure doesn’t usually generate as much outrage among devout Catholics as the pill and sex ed. As Hemant explains, it’s often done after a C section at the request of the mother.

Yet these hospitals are refusing to perform the procedure, arguing, if I understand correctly, that it gets in the way of letting God have control over whether or not you have a baby. If you know about Catholic teachings on how to avoid pregnancy during sex, you may see how this begs a question: why even preach natural family planning (as the church does)? If the Catholic church is that opposed to couples doing anything that would prevent pregnancy, regardless of whether or not it can cause an abortion, then why even encourage women to track their cycle when trying not to conceive? Isn’t that, as they argue it, getting in the way of God?

Hemant also brings up cases of pregnancies that implant in the wrong place, in which abortion is the best and safest option, but of course Catholic hospitals want nothing to do with that.

In the midst of arguments about individual people being allowed to say no to a task that runs contrary to his or her conscience while on the job, is it too much to ask that we stop treating organizations like people? If the nearest hospital to you is Catholic, and you want one of these procedures they object to, it’s going to take you some time to get transferred somewhere that will do what you need.

As elections come around, I encourage everyone to look locally. Vote for people who care about access to all healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, and vote out politicians who think it’s OK to treat the Catholic Church like a person with an objection. We’re just lucky our hospitals aren’t being run by Jehovah’s Witnesses, or we’d be dealing with a preventable death toll from blood loss.

Any thoughts on this? Feel free to leave a comment. All opinions are welcome. Just be respectful and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!

-Nancy

Abortion Regret: More False Pro-Life Claims

Women Do Regret Abortion envelope stickers

Sign from a pro-life campaign claiming women regret abortion.

In light of the resent upsurge of Republican efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, here’s more proof that the pro-life movement is spreading misinformation about the nature of abortion and its effects on women.

During my time as part of the pro-life movement, I remember attending the march for life, and reading signs saying “Women Regret Abortion” and “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood.” I don’t doubt that there are individuals who regret their decision to abort–I’ve met several–however, the pro-life movement likes to claim that abortion leads to depression, and that the choice to abort harms women more in the long run than carrying a baby for 9 months and giving birth because these women typically come to regret their decision. According to a recent study, this is simply not the case.

In follow-up interviews over three years, the authors report, 95 percent of all the respondents “reported that having the abortion was the right decision for them.”

It gets better though.

There was another major factor in the small percentage of women who did feel significant regret post-abortion: the overall social support the women had, and the stigma they felt they would face for having an abortion. Participants were asked to rank, on a scale of one to four, “how much they would be looked down upon by people in their communities if they knew they had sought an abortion.” Without fear of stigma, the vast majority of women reporting [sic] feeling happiness and relief immediately following the abortion, with both relief and negative emotions subsiding over time…[emphasis mine]

In other words, the pro-life movement itself may actually be causing some cases of abortion regret by eroding the social support these women have and turning it against them. Yes, correlation does not equal causation, but you have to admit, the things correlated here give a very plausible explanation.

Also according to the study, Latina women are more likely to regret their abortion. Why? Gee, I don’t know, what’s the most common religion among Latina people, and what is its stance on abortion?

Oh but that’s the article, and it has an error in it! Quote the study directly!

OK:

Notably, we found no differences in emotional trajectories or decision rightness between women having earlier versus later procedures. Important to women’s reports were social factors surrounding the pregnancy and termination-seeking. Having had difficulty deciding to terminate the pregnancy, and reporting higher pregnancy planning levels, were strongly associated with negative emotions and lower decision rightness, while being in school and working at the time of the pregnancy was associated with far higher feelings of decision rightness. Community stigma and lower social support were associated with negative emotions. [Emphasis mine]

One of the reasons given by pro-life advocates for why abortion supposedly causes breast cancer (another false claim) and regret, is that the hormones associated with pregnancy really screw with a woman if they’re just abruptly stopped by the termination of the pregnancy. The fact that this study looked into what term the abortion happened in tells me that they were aware of this claim. You would think that later in the term there would be more regret. More hormones, more hormonal bonding between mother and baby. That clearly is not the case, though.

Am I surprised?

No. But I’m very upset to find out that not only is the pro-life movement opposing reproductive rights for women, and lying in order to do so, but it may actually be removing much needed support systems for women with unplanned pregnancies by creating stigma around abortion, leading to them regretting what may very well be the best situation for them.

Any thoughts on this? Know of any other supposed downsides to abortion that the pro-life movement is lying about? Feel free to leave a comment. All opinions are welcome. Just be respectful and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!

-Nancy