This opinion piece by Dr. Sarah Prager printed in the Seattle Post Intelligencer is another example of bad editorial control when it comes to publishing articles on issues concerning bio-ethics. Dr. Prager claims that post-abortion syndrome does not exist. Period.
I have no idea whether this opinion was solicited or whether Dr. Prager submitted her article for publication, but somewhere along the line a mistake in judgement was made by the editorial board of the Seattle PI. Let me explain. Suppose I want to submit an article to my local paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Pause for laughter) All right, I submit my idea to the person responsible for screening such articles. I want to do a paper on the psychological effects of abortion on women. It is my belief (for the purposes of the illustration) that all women suffer from post-abortion stress syndrome and those that claim not to lie. It is my considered opinion and I do work in a ministry where other people counsel women who have previously had abortions. Should I be printed? Well what is the goal? If the goal is to offer the readers of the AJC expert or unusually informed opinions on subjects outside of the expertise of the journalists that comprise the editorial board then absolutely not. I do not work in this specific field of psychological study and my knowing people that do does not make me an authority.
Perhaps the editorial gatekeeper then considers the Op/Ed piece based on the strength of content alone. Dr. Prager does site specific studies that support her strong and unbelievably universal claim that , “Abortion does not cause women to sink into despair or suffer long-term psychological problems.” Doesn’t she? Does she?
Paragraph 1 – “You won't find a scientific or medical description of it anywhere because it is not real” (No citation given there)
Paragraph 2 – “There is a large body of medical literature proving that the majority of women who have abortions suffer no negative medical or psychological consequences.” (None there)
Paragraph 3 - “Research by the American Psychological Association supports that claim, finding that 76 percent of women report feeling relief after abortion while only 17 percent report feelings of guilt.” (Ah, research. Where I can I find that again?)
Paragraph 4 – “Pregnant women who make informed decisions about abortion are no different, and usually feel just fine about their choice.” (Okay, still looking for a citation)
Paragraph 6 – “Abortion does not cause women to sink into despair or suffer long-term psychological problems.” (That has got to be backed by…nope. Still nothing.)
Paragraph 7 – “In this case, the weight is on the side of extensive research, which has shown repeatedly that the syndrome doesn't exist.” (Extensive research. That is much more impressive than the word research flying solo earlier, but still no citation.)
So the editorial board has an article that makes a minimum of 6 strong assertions and supports these claims by the strength of the repeated use of the word “research” and some stray statistics from a person who is not by profession an expert in the field in question.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer says, “Why not! Sure let’s run with it! You’re an abortion provider? Even better! No conflict of interest there. Don’t worry about giving us actual sources to support your claims. Your use of the word research is strong enough for us.”
Without getting into the issue of PAS, this is a bad move. That is providing the editorial board wants to offer informed opinions to the readers. If they just want to stir the pot a bit, then print whatever nonsense you want. Credibility is not as important as it used to be in journalism.
For the record, Dr. Prager, at best you are making an argument that PAS is not universally suffered by women who have abortions. I am surprised that a woman as supportive of "women's rights" is so quick to angrily dismiss the felt experiences of so many other women. You certainly do not have the material evidence to do so.
JivinJehoshaphat tries to help her by actually citing a source on her statistics, but he points out even there Dr. Prager is misleading or misled. Take your pick.