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Cal Thomas on Abortion

June 29, 1986

A comment on the Cal Thomas column.

The reactions reported by 70% of the women interviewed in the University of Minnesota survey of women who had abortions--decreased ability to experience emotions, a feeling of victimization, low self-worth, depression and feelings of guilt and anger--are also the classic manifestations of powerlessness and dependency. This is no surprise if David C. Reardon's findings are accurate: 63% of women who have abortions felt forced by outside circumstances into the procedure, the outside circumstances being pressure from husbands, boyfriends, parents, doctors or social workers (as opposed to no money, no husband, bad health, etc.).

These statistics say more about the long-term psychological risks of female powerlessness and dependency than about abortion. In fact, the information suggests that a past abortion may provide for some women an acceptable explanation for bad feelings that actually come from an on-going lack of control over their own lives.

There is a serious need for pregnancy counseling that is truly pro-choice if all these women are being talked into abortions they don't really want, but I fail to see that outlawing abortion addresses the problem. Seventy-five percent of the women in Reardon's survey say they would definitely not have considered an abortion if it had not been legal, but one wonders. These are the same women who already let someone pressure them into having an abortion when what they wanted was to have a baby.

ELIZABETH GILCHRIST

Santa Barbara

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