Yesterday I ran through the ‘plethora’ of evidence that’s being promoted by Nadine Dorries in the mistaken belief that it establishes a causal connection between abortion and subsequent mental health problems experienced by women who’ve undergone an elective abortion.
In the process I also introduced you, perhaps for the first time, to a number of anti-abortion ‘researchers’ who have, for some time, been actively engaged in constructing – or perhaps manufacturing is a better word – a body of ‘research literature’ on the alleged, and unproven, association between abortion and mental illness in an effort to justify the introduction of laws, in the US, which work-around the legal framework set out in Roe vs Wade and restrict women’s access to abortion.
The key player in all this is David C Reardon, the director of a ‘one man and his dog’ anti-abortion organisation, the Elliot Institute, whose primary ‘qualification’ as a researcher turned out to be a ‘Gillian McKeith degree’, a ‘PhD’ in bioethics awarded by a non-accreditted correspondence ‘university’.
I also, briefly, touched on some of the, frankly, batshit insane beliefs held by Reardon that underpin his views on abortion, ranging from the usual fundamentalist fulminating about the alleged role and influence of Satan in abortion to a spectacularly misconceived and thoroughly offensive argument which attempts to draw parallels between women who undergo abortions and the Jews who worked as Kapos in Nazi concentration camps by way of bastardising the work of the eminent sociologist, Zygmunt Bauman’.
On reflection, Reardon’s use of the argumenum ad hitlerum is unremittingly foul that I’ve decided to publish the full text of argument, so everyone can see for themselves the full, extraordinary and frankly perverse lengths to which some of the people that Dorries is acting as a parliamentary mouthpiece for will happily go in an effort to smear their opponents and supply pseudointellectual justifications for their views on abortion.
By fanning the flames of despair, Satan can lead us into the greatest of sins, because desperate people do desperate things. At the moment a person gives in to despair, one has suffered a loss of faith and trust in God. In the case of abortion, the desperate woman has lost faith in the promise that God has a plan for her life, much less a plan for her child’s life.
Desperate people try to take control. They try to save whatever they can by doing whatever needs to be done — which may include betraying their own values. For example, when the Nazis undertook the extermination of millions of Jews, the sheer magnitude of their task required them to develop ways of soliciting the cooperation of the victims. There were too few soldiers to contain millions of rebellious Jews. So it was necessary to manipulate their victims so that they would choose to cooperate for at least one day at a time. The Nazis did this by exposing the Jews to limited threats; the victims were always left with the bit of hope that by submitting to the present indignity, there was something else which could be saved. According to sociologist Zygmunt Bauman:
At all stages of the Holocaust, the victims were confronted with a choice (as least subjectively – even when objectively the choice did not exist any more, having been preempted by the secret decision of physical destruction). They could not choose between good and bad situations, but they could at least choose between greater and lesser evil… In other words they had something to save. To make their victims’ behavior predictable and hence manipulable and controllable, the Nazis had to induce them to act in the ‘rational mode.’ To achieve that effect, they had to make the victims believe that there was indeed something to save, and that there were clear rules as to how one should go about saving it.1
These choices were presented in a way that discouraged reflecting on the decisions from a moral perspective. Instead, the victims were pressured to make rational decisions based on the rational need to “save whatever we can.”
Using this demonic strategy, the Nazis encouraged the empowerment of ghetto Jewish leaders who would see to the needs of the people, coordinate distribution of medicine and materials, maintain morale, etc. These same leaders were then manipulated into cooperating with the Nazi extermination program. They were confronted with the agonizing choice of cooperating with the Nazis or witnessing the slaughter of their people. At first the cooperation was in “small” things, maintaining a ghetto police force, providing lists of names, selection of ghetto residents to be sent to “resettlement” projects, providing transportation to pick-up points, and the like. In some cases, when the Nazis wanted to punish the entire community for some infraction, Jewish leaders were even forced to select and arrest the desired number of victims who were to be publicly executed by the Nazis. And always–no matter what the request–the leaders were told that by cooperating they were saving the lives of the majority who remained. Leaders who didn’t cooperate were eliminated. Leaders who did cooperate saved their own lives, the lives of their families, and the lives of the dwindling majority of Jews under their leadership–at least for a time–and were left to agonize over their complicity.
The similarity between Nazi manipulations of the Jews and the abortionists’ manipulation of women faced with crisis pregnancies is striking. Just as the victim-Jews were forced to choose between losing everything, or just a little, so abortion counselors encourage the victim-woman to view “this pregnancy” as a threat to everything she has, her relationships, her family, her career, her entire future. She is assured that by sacrificing this one thing (a tiny unborn child), she can save the rest. During this process, the victim-woman is urged to view the abortion decision not as a moral choice, but as a rational choice of “saving what you can.”
But in fact, just as those who reluctantly cooperated with the Nazis discovered, the bargain is a false one. The demands on ghetto leaders to sacrifice more and more victims never stopped. And so it is with the post-aborted woman. After her child is destroyed, she faces self-condemnation, lower self-esteem, difficulty with relationships, substance abuse, career problems, a cycle of repeat abortions, and more. Often she experiences an intense desire for replacement pregnancies to atone for her lost child, and she becomes a single parent, the very problem she sought to avoid in the first place – but now she also has to deal with the emotional scars of an abortion.
Is Dorries even aware that this is the kind of crap she’s fronting for?
I doubt it very much, in fact I doubt that even bothers to read most of what her fundie buddies are putting in front of her and, based on her speeches in parliament, she certain doesn’t bother to check the verisimilitude of her source or the veracity of her arguments.