Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Holiday Quizes :-)

You Are Cider

Your holiday personality is cozy.

The holidays are your favorite time to stay home, stay warm, and spend time with those you love.

You don't need a lot to make you happy over the holidays.

Seeing an old relative or favorite holiday film is enough to make your day.
What Holiday Drink Are You?

You Are Flannel Pajamas

You seek comfort above everything else. You rather feel good than look good.

You are a very relaxed person, especially when you're surrounded by your favorite things and people.

You are a homebody. Home is the place where you can truly be yourself.

You are likely to wear pajamas a lot. In fact, you often change into your pj's the minute you get home!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Retake on a Christmas Classic

"My Charlie Brown Christmas"
Featuring original writing and voice talent from
cast members of the show [Scrubs]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Book Worth Having: Beyond Morning Sickness

The book is entitled, "Beyond Morning Sickness: Battling Hyperemsis Gravidarum" and is written by Ashli McCall. During Ashli's four pregnancies, she experienced Hyperemsis Gravidarum, a rare disorder characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, which lead to hospitalizations for dehydration, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and excess weight loss as well as just plain misery. During Ashli's first pregnancy, her physicians gave her little information or hope on the treatment options available for HG; with some physicians outright insensitive to the condition, while others were apologetic, unable to offer her relief. As a disease it was under-studied, poorly understood, and fraught with the myths of years of misinformation and misunderstanding from the medical profession. Feeling abondoned, very sick, and her health in jepordy, at four months, she gave in to the advice of her doctor and relatives, ending the very much wanted pregnancy. Here is her story, from an interview on CNN:

The lack of information and support for women with HG in the medical community has had an impact on Ashli and and now she seeks to educate, inform, and support other women who find themselves facing this debilitating illness. More on Ashli's book as well as a support forum for mothers facing HG can be found at her website Beyond Morning

Monday, December 15, 2008

Question Reply: Infection Following an Abortion

This is in response to a visitor who came to Christina's blog searching, "I've got an infection from abortion. Can I die?" Things have turned into a heated debate over there, so I figure I'd post my reply here.

I strongly recommend going to see a doctor and get checked out, if you haven't already. If you don't feel comfortable returning to the same clinic, you can seek the follow-up care through your community's public health clinic, your regular gynecologist, or your primary care provider. The health care provider will probably preform an ultrasound and pelvic exam to ensure your abortion is complete and draw some blood because your white blood cell count can tell them whether your body is reacting to an infection. You may then receive a week or two supply of antibiotics. Sometimes the cause of infection is an incomplete abortion and a woman will need to have a repeat vacuum aspiration to remove remains of the pregnancy. However, if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, please don't wait until your 2 week follow-up and immediately go to your local hospital emergency department, as these could be signs of a potentially serious complication:
  • Fever (more than 100.4°F) and chills.
  • Severe persistent pain or cramps not relieved by pain relivers (ibuprofen or naproxen), rest, or a heating pad.
  • Vomiting for more than four to six hours and you are not able to keep anything down
  • Prolonged or heavy bleeding, soaking through more than 4-5 pads per hour or more than 12 pads in 24 hours.
  • An unpleasant, foul-smelling, and/or abnormal cottage-cheese-like or foamy green, yellow, or grey discharge from your vagina
Regardless of the severity of your infection, the sooner you start treatment, the better the outcome.

E-Medicine Health: Elective Abortion Follow-Up, an article by Suzanne R Trupin, MD

E-Medicine: Abortion Complications, an article by Slava V Gaufberg, MD, FACEP
Aftercare and clinical indications of complications to look out for following an induced abortion. A non-political professional medical website.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Abortion and Subsequent Mental Health

In August, the American Psychological Association released a news report, which concludes abortion causes no mental health problems despite recent research proving otherwise (see documentation below). While the American Psychological Assocation refutes the fact that PASS exists, I believe that PASS exists and it can affect women in many ways, I want it to be recognised so that women can get the treatment, help and support that they deserve.  Refuting the previously released report of the APA, a new study shows a direct link between abortion and subsequent mental health problems.

Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables," they wrote. "Calculation of population attributable risks indicated that abortion was implicated in between 4.3% and 16.6% of the incidence of these disorders," they concluded.
Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, led the research team that conducted the study.
Together with Catherine Coyle of Edgewood College, researcher Martha Shuping and psychologist Dr. Vincent Rue, they published their results online today at the Journal of Psychiatric Research, a well-established and respected journal.
The researchers found women who had abortions, compared with those who didn't had a 120% risk for alcohol abuse, with or without dependence, a 145% increased risk of alcohol dependence, 79% increased risk of drug abuse with or without dependence and a 126% increase in the risk of drug dependence.
For mood disorders, the experience of an abortion increased risk of developing bipolar disorder by 167%, major depression without hierarchy by 45% and major depression with hierarchy by 48%.
For anxiety disorders, there was a 111% increased risk for panic disorders, 44% increased risk for panic attacks, 59% increased risk for PTSD, 95% increased risk for agoraphobia with or without panic disorder and a 93% increased risk for agoraphobia without panic disorder.
There was no mental health outcome showing abortion to have decreased the risk or a high risk for women who did not have an abortion.

The following are additional studies, from within the last 10 years, which have found a connection between abortion and subsequent mental health issues.
The Norwegian study, conducted by Dr. Willy Pedersen, was recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.
The authors make the link clear in the conclusion of the abstract: "Young adult women who undergo induced abortion may be at increased risk for subsequent depression."
The Norwegian researchers studied 5,768 women between the ages of 15 and 27 years and asked then questions concerning abortion and childbirth as well as family relationships and a number of individual characteristics, such as schooling and occupational history and conduct problems.
The results showed, "Young women who reported having had an abortion in their twenties were more likely to score above the cut-off point for depression."

study earlier this month in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found 30 percent of women who purchase the abortion drug mifepristone on the Internet experience depression and negative feelings accompanying the abortion.
The most prominent study of abortion's link to mental health issues comes from New Zealand.

The New Zealand study found that having an abortion as a young woman raises the risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Some 42 percent of the women who had abortions had experienced major depression within the last four years. That's almost double the rate of women who never became pregnant. The risk of anxiety disorders also doubled.
According to the study, women who have abortions were twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs.
David Fergusson, an abortion advocate who led the study, said the results show access to legal abortions is not necessarily good for women. He also said the study confirms abortions cause women mental health issues -- rather than alleviating them as abortion advocates claim.

"Abortion and Depression: A population-based longitudinal study of young women."
Willy Pedersen
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 2008
The "Young in Norway" longitudinal study, which surveyed students in Norway four times from 1992 through 2005.
There was no correlation between teenage abortion and subsequent depression, after controlling for such factors as family stability and socioeconomic status. Women who had abortions in their 20s did have increased rates of depression.

"Resolution of Unwanted Pregnancy During Adolescence Through Abortion Versus Childbirth: Individual and Family Predictors and Psychological Consequences"
Priscilla K. Coleman
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 2006
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which interviewed thousands of U.S. middle- and high-school students in 1995 and again in 1996.
Adolescents who had abortions were significantly more likely than those who gave birth to seek psychological counseling, have trouble sleeping and report frequent marijuana use.
The study relied on the adolescents to self-report their pregnancy history and only 65 reported an abortion. It was not possible to control for all factors. For instance, perhaps adolescents involved in abusive relationships were more likely to seek abortions; if so, it could be the fear of violence, not the abortion, that caused insomnia and drug use.

"Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health"
David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, and Elizabeth M. Ridder
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2006
A health and development study that followed more than 1,200 New Zealand children from birth to age 25.
Adolescents and young women who had abortions were more likely to suffer from depression, thoughts of suicide, drug addiction and overall mental health problems than peers who had children or who never got pregnant. This result remained statistically significant even after controlling for factors such as education, family stability, self-esteem, smoking habits and prior history of depression.

"Depression and Unwanted First Pregnancy: Longitudinal Cohort Study"
Sarah Schmiege and Nancy Felipe Russo
British Medical Journal, 2005
A national study of U.S. youth, who were first interviewed in 1979 and followed through 1992. This research looked at more than 1,000 women who reported their first pregnancy was unwanted.
Women who aborted had no higher risk of depression than women who delivered. Over the years, those who aborted ended up with higher incomes and education levels than those who delivered – achievements that can lower the risk of depression.

Medical Science Monitor, 2003: This study examined National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) data, specifically the records of 1,884 women with a first pregnancy. It also considered if there were any previous psychological problems. The study found that, at an average of 8 years after the first pregnancies, women who chose abortions were 8% more likely to score in the "high-risk" range for clinical depression than women who gave birth. This was after controlling for age, race, marital status, divorce history, education, income, and previous psychological state. [NLSY is an ongoing nationwide interview-based study conducted by the Center for Human Resource Research at Ohio State University and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. [9(4): CR105-112].] full text] [This and the later-discussed NLSY results have been adjusted to reflect questions already raised and addressed about this research, as discussed here and here.]

Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), May 13, 2003: Another study found that
"Psychiatric admissions were more common among women at anytime between 90 days to 4 years after an…abortion, than among those who carried a pregnancy to term." The risk was “significantly higher.” They reviewed the California Medicaid records of 56,741 women aged 13–49 years at the time of either abortion or childbirth, and only included women with no previous psychiatric admissions or pregnancy events during the year before.

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2002: This study found that women with a prior history of abortion are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use illicit drugs, and ten times more likely to use marijuana during the first pregnancy they actually carry to term, compared to other women delivering their first pregnancies. ["History of induced abortion in relation to substance use during pregnancies carried to term." December 2002; 187(5).]

British Medical Journal, Dec. 2001: An earlier look at that NLSY data found that, an average of eight years after abortion, married women were 37% more likely to be at high risk of clinical depression, compared to similar women who carried their unintended first pregnancies to term. However, women having abortions instead of carrying to term in their first marriages were 50% more likely to be in that “high risk range” than those in second or later marriages. [324: 151-152] [This and the above-mentioned NLSY results have been adjusted to reflect the questions already raised about this data, as discussed here and here.]

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2002: A comparison of outpatient mental health claims over 5 years, including records of 173,000 California women, found that women were 63% more likely to receive mental care within 90 days of an abortion, than after giving birth. Also, significantly higher rates of later mental health treatment persisted over the entire four years of data examined. Abortion was most strongly associated with later treatments for neurotic depression, bipolar disorder, adjustment reactions, and schizophrenic disorders." [culled from data about state-funded abortions vs. deliveries; Vol. 72, No. 1, 141-152]
"Psychological Responses of Women after First-Trimester Abortion"
Brenda Major, Catherine Cozzarelli, M. Lynne Cooper, Josephine Zubek, Caroline Richards, Michael Wilhite, Richard H. Gramzow
Archives of General Psychiatry, 2000
Series of interviews with nearly 450 women seeking first-trimester abortions for unintended pregnancy. They were interviewed one hour before the abortion and one hour, one month and two years after.
Indications of depression increased over time. At the two-year mark, 20% of women had experienced an episode of clinical depression. But many of them had a history of depression before their abortion. At the last interview, 72% of women said they were satisfied with their decision. But 19% said they would not have the abortion if they could go back; another 12% were undecided.

While the studies are conflicting and scientists continue to  debate, we need to turn to the women making the decision and listen to their needs. These women are speaking and there is strong demand for adequate post-abortion counseling. According to Vicki Thorn, founder of the Catholic-based post-abortion healing program, Project Rachel, "The national office receives 300-400 phone calls and about 200 e-mails each month." (source, 2002). The PASS Site, a well-known neutral peer support sight has 12 pages (with an estimated 217 stories) and 6,005 more active members on the message board community of men and women who are working through post-abortion issues. In 2002, the pro-choice post-abortion hotline, "Exhale" was established and currently receives more than 500 calls a month (source). In addition, a number of independent, peer support post-abortion message boards have appeared over the last several years, for example, the message board at Safe Have Ministries  and the "Post Abortion Healing Support" board at Voy Forums.

In addition, Naomi'st true story reveals the barriors of stigma and political rhetoric women face when seeking post-abortion counseling:
"I think it is also crucial for women to be warned that post abortion depression is not just a myth promoted by anti-abortionists. I had been reassured that I would not have emotional problems after the abortion. I heard that the only opposition to abortion was religious; since I was an atheist, I should never have a problem with it.

When post abortion trauma hit me a full decade after the abortion I was not prepared and absolutely stunned at its force. I was devastated, depressed, suicidal, angry and ashamed for a full six months. I had nightmares, couldn't cope with going out in public, and hated myself and everyone involved with the abortion. Anything I thought I could not have acquired or achieved if I had allowed my child to be born, I wanted to destroy: my marriage, my career, my home, my car; I even had to put my wedding pictures away for a while because I felt like tearing them all up.

Trustingly, I turned to pro-choice groups for help with my trauma. Even though I was still pro-choice and an atheist, I was laughed at and argued with. I was told that if I was having any regrets it was because I was not psychologically normal before the abortion! I was told it was just post-abortion hormones (the abortion had taken place ten years earlier!). In tears I called several pro-choice organizations and clinics, honestly seeking help. I was told that there was no such thing as post abortion regrets, I was called a liar, I was told there was no help available for me at all. The only "nice" response I got was a lady who said "I'm sorry" and then hung up. The last abortion clinic receptionist I talked to got furious and accused me of being an anti-abortionist pretending to have post abortion depression and threatened to report me to the police for "harassing" the clinic!

I was devastated. If I had a gun and did not have two small children to care for I know I would have ended it all right then. I didn't know who to turn to. I had not even told my husband yet what was upsetting me.

Luckily, I called a pro-life center and they referred me to post-abortion therapy (even though I told them I was pro-choice). I chose non-religious post-abortion therapy and eventually healed. But for a while my husband and some relatives were angry with me for admitting I never wanted the abortion. Cruelly, they subjected me to the very same comments and pressure which caused me to submit to the abortion in the first place ("reassuring" me that it was what I "had" to do) while insisting that it was all my idea and they never pressured me at all!

I strongly urge women to speak up and be honest - no matter who it pisses off! No more pretending that it's what we want or all our idea. It's bad enough others (who supposedly "love" us) impose their wishes on us without us also being expected to act like it's what we alone "chose."

July 1998
Feminist Women's Health Clinic: Naomi's Story
In closing, please consider the following section of a letter submitted by Celia Ryan, a social worker and specialized grief counselor, in response to the Canadian Medical Association May 13 (2006) article relating abortion to increased risks of psychiatric hospitalization...

"I am not a researcher, and the hurting men and women who come to my office for counseling, or to my groups, are not interested in statistics or expectable outcomes. They are interested in having a language, structure and a framework for their abortion experience and an opportunity to use that information in a helfpul and healing way. They are grateful and relieved to finally be able to name and explore an issue that society says does not exist. They are no longer disenfranchised from their appropriate grief."

These women exist, we can't ignore their presence or needs for support/counseling as well.