LIFE ISSUES: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
Abortion, depression and suicide
, March 15, 2014
Recently, the public learned of the tragic death of Australian model and television presenter Charlotte Dawson. Her lengthy battle with depression resulted in an apparent suicide. It is always extremely sad when anything like this takes place, especially for a relatively young person (she was just 47).
One thing much of the mainstream media has not revealed, however, is the very clear link between an abortion she once had and her later depression. Some media outlets did speak to this. The Sydney Daily Telegraph, for example, said: “Dawson’s personal life was also traumatic after she split in July from her most recent lover, real estate broker Tyrone Corban, 24 years her junior.
“But friends believe she had never really gotten over her marriage to [Australian swimmer Scott] Miller, which ended in divorce after only a year. In her tell-all autobiography Air Kiss And Tell, she revealed she had an abortion because the pregnancy would interfere with Miller’s preparation for the 2000 Olympics — and blamed that for the start of her long battle with depression” (Sydney Daily Telegraph, February 23, 2014).
And The Australian made this brief mention of the abortion connection: “Ms Dawson gave an insight into her life — both her troubles and the highlights — in her autobiography, released late 2012. In the book, Air Kiss and Tell, she revealed she had had an abortion with her former husband, Olympic swimmer Scott Miller, so that he would not have any distractions in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics.
“She had been looking forward to having a baby but sensed ‘hesitation’ in Miller. ‘Everything Scott had done was leading up to this moment and nothing could stand in his way, so it was decided that we would terminate the child and try again later. Who needed a developing foetus when a gold medal was on offer, eh?’
“Ms Dawson wrote that she was alone when she had the termination. In her book she wrote that this was her first experience with depression — a battle she continued to fight for the next 14 years” (The Australian, February 23, 2014).
But for daring to point out this connection, some people have been attacked. New South Wales politician Rev. Fred Nile, for example, highlighted this fact in public, and was publicly attacked for doing so. But despite all the flak, he would not back down.
He said in his defence: “Charlotte Dawson’s story is a sad tragedy as she, like many, is a victim of depression. Her story needs to be told because, if it could happen to a strong and successful woman such as Charlotte, it can happen to anyone. May she finally be at peace. Our sympathy and prayers are with her loved ones” (Sydney Morning Herald, February 24, 2014).
The simple truth is that this outcome is another ugly secret of the abortion industry. Abortion does indeed lead to depression and mental and psychological problems.
After an abortion women can suffer physically, emotionally and psychologically — so much so, that a number of support groups exist around the world to help women cope with the after-effects of abortion. Each day groups, such as Women Hurt by Abortion and Victims of Choice, deal with women who are trying to come to terms with their abortions.
One counsellor who has dealt with many women who have had abortions says this: “One psychological effect we see almost all the time is guilt. Others are suicidal impulses, a sense of loss, of unfulfilment … mourning, regret and remorse … withdrawal, loss of confidence in decision-making capabilities.”
Many studies could be referred to here. One longitudinal study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that women who have an abortion are more likely to experience mental health problems later in life, including depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse.
Indeed, the list of reputable studies on this is increasing each year. To take but one example, an article recently appeared which listed with full detail and documentation numerous recent studies which demonstrate the harm done to women’s mental health because of abortion.
Dr Priscilla Coleman, professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, said this about the list: “Over 30 studies have been published in just the last five years and they add to a body of literature comprised of hundreds of studies published in major medicine and psychology journals throughout the world. The list is provided below and the conscientious reader is encouraged to check the studies out.”
Also, an important book was published 14 years ago in Australia by Melinda Tankard Reist, entitled Giving Sorrow Words: Women’s Stories of Grief After Abortion (2007). The book grew out of small ads placed in newspapers and magazines asking for stories of women hurt by abortion. Hundreds of women responded. This book is a collection of some of these stories. It makes for painful reading.
Every one of the women featured in this book regrets her decision, mourns the loss of her child, and grieves months and years afterwards. Pro-abortionists try to deny these stories, or explain them away. But they cannot go away. The stories contained in the study are a testimony to the truth that abortion kills little babies — and the mothers know it.
A more recent Australian book, Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain (revised edition, 2013), is also very important to this whole issue. Melbourne-based post-abortion grief counsellor Anne Lastman has listened to over 1,000 personal stories of women who have had abortions.
Her study is very powerful and moving, especially considering the fact that she had two abortions herself.
This is how she describes the plight of the woman who has had an abortion: “We need to realise that with the termination of the life in the womb, her originally designed womanhood is changed or at best seriously affected, and the person after the abortion is no longer the person she was before.
“It is almost as if two people die on the surgical table, one physically and one spiritually and emotionally.”
She notes that baby death through abortion is qualitatively different from that from, say, a miscarriage: “Although there is a strong similarity between pregnancy loss and abortion loss, the trauma following abortion is much greater due to the fact of the participation or even volitional aspect of the mother.
“Although this participation is often little more than the giving of an indifferent consent, and at times this consent given under pressure, the guilt component of her emotions, coupled with the eventual realisation of what she has done, becomes unbearable.”
She continues, “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders specifies that a trauma is more severe and longer lasting when the stressor is of human design, as in the volitional aspect, or consent, to the decision to abort.”
Janet Morana records a number of stories of women who have had abortions and live to deeply regret it. These moving stories will not likely make it into the mainstream media, but they need to be told.
Let me just share one of those stories with you. An 80-year-old grandmother told Morana: “My abortion was before [the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision] Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, and it was not in a back alley as we hear people say, but that abortion haunts me to this day.”
She summarises the situation as follows: “Women never forget their abortion, even if they eventually find healing. Their memories of their abortions become a permanent part of their lives.” In fact, “not only did abortion not solve their problems, it created many other physical, psychological, and emotional problems.”
While the pro-abortion lobby and much of the mainstream media do not want the public to be exposed to these facts, the recent tragic death of Dawson is yet another reminder that abortion really is a killer — in more ways than one.
Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com
Amy Harris, Jonathon Moran and Linda Silmalis, “Charlotte Dawson: Haunted to the end by her inner demons”, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), February 23, 2014.
Sharri Markson, “Celebrities and friends pay tribute to Charlotte Dawson, dead at 47”, The Australian, February 23, 2014.
Michaela Whitbourn, “Fred Nile under fire for Facebook post about Charlotte Dawson abortion”, Sydney Morning Herald, February 24, 2014.