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A fine point, yet this view does not hold sway in medical circles. It is common practice for professionals to nag patients to floss, exercise, eat right and drink less. In this way Anonymous’s argument is intellectually honest; there is no case for behavior molding in these areas that wouldn’t apply to sexual activity.
Anonymous is also convincing when it comes to post-abortion stress. Again starting with one of her patients (“Kelly”), the author lays out an undeniable pattern of women who have abortions, only to experience depression and sometimes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The writer is careful to point out these cases are rare; by one study about 20 percent of women become depressed to some degree, and one percent get PTSD.
But in the cases that do occur, the symptoms go largely untreated, with not so much as a follow-up exam. During standard psychological interrogations, doctors don’t even ask if women have been pregnant. Anonymous logs on to the website afterabortion.com, finding that the Internet is the only place many sufferers have to talk things through.
The writer makes a good point that, with most medical procedures, patients are warned of every possible complication no matter how minute the chance. With abortion, she says the rush is to put the operation in perspective, to show the woman how harmless and routine it is.
She’s also correct that post-abortion stress is not an argument against abortion — at least no more than stretch marks and postpartum depression are arguments for it. Something medically risky is bound to happen when a woman gets pregnant, whether it destroys a “fetus” or gives life to a baby.
But the psychiatrist is a little inconsistent in her recommendation — that physicians communicate a patient’s risks along with her options, and later provide support groups. No encouragement not to have the procedure, as with the promiscuous sex that starts these problems in the first place.
The third worthwhile chapter focuses on the tension between psychiatrists and religion, an odd scenario because faith has positive psychological consequences. Textbooks only mention God in sections on pathology, and a past American Psychological Association president even called for an end to religion. A married Mormon student trying to have her sixth child is seen as a curiosity, and it’s harder for her to get fertility medication than for a promiscuous student to get birth control.
ASIDE FROM THESE TOPICS, HOWEVER, the book stands on shaky ground. It’s not a lack of documentation, as each section is meticulously footnoted. It’s not that the arguments are radical or unheard of, either.
The problem is that Anonymous strays from psychiatry and into physician territory, challenging orthodoxies along the way. No matter how right she is, it’s hard to trust an anonymous campus psychiatrist to tell the whole stories about childbirth, AIDS and HPV.
Psychiatrists are trained medical doctors, but like psychologists they focus on mental instead of physical health. Her patient anecdotes reveal Anonymous doesn’t deal with these issues much as a doctor.
“Amanda” is moody because she’s almost 39 and childless — she wants help for the moodiness, not the childlessness, because she’s unmarried and Anonymous does not work at a fertility clinic. With former Chlamydia patient “Delia,” the topic of having kids just popped up during a psychiatric exam. (The woman comes in for Ritalin refills, and Anonymous doesn’t even review the records until the patient leaves for Texas.) The heterosexual AIDS case is merely worried about it, and the homosexual one came in for help quitting smoking “Stacey” visited Anonymous for help with self-mutilation; an HPV diagnosis happened to have caused some of Stacey’s stress.
The first issue is so tired it’s amazing the publisher even bothered to include it. Everyone knows conception and healthy birth get more difficult as a woman ages. It’s no shocker than Chlamydia isn’t good for the system either, though some may not know a case “cured” long ago can still hurt fertility.
And on HIV, Anonymous does little more than re-state the thesis from Michael Fumento’s The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS. It’s a case that’s faded in recent years — any author who cites it shows some guts — but a rewrite doesn’t add much to the debate.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics support the argument, of course: Of the 944,305 people ever diagnosed with AIDS in the U.S., more than 500,000 were men who had sex with men (about 60,000 of these also injected drugs, making it unclear how they got the disease). A small percentage of the population represents a majority of AIDS cases.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online