Extract A newsbrief in CMAJ 1985;132:1301) criticizing the videotape “The Silent Scream” failed to report the opinion of a highly qualified expert. Dr. Ian Donald, the original developer of diagnostic ultrasonography, former Regius professor of obstetrics at the University of Glasgow and honorary research consultant at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, spent 4 years filming fetal activity at various stages of gestation. Donald, in a sworn affidavit, wrote: “I have now studied Dr. Nathanson’s video-tape film entitled ‘The Silent Scream’ not less than four times and affirm that I am of the opinion that the fetal activities depicted by ultrasound real- time scanning in this film are not faked [or] the result of artefact intentional or otherwise”.
Extract The Aberdeen study examined the cases of 300 women applying for abortions, of which 60% were approved; approximately 120 women were denied abortion. This number would constitute only 1.9% of the 6323 cases in my survey. Furthermore, if they had been included the results would remain statistically unchanged. . . Dr. Watters states that I was “very selective in examining the work done in Czechoslovakia” and cites the work of Matejcek and colleagues.3 I direct Dr. Watters’ attention to reference 11 in my survey, in which this work is cited. This was Dr. Matejcek and colleagues’ original publication on the same group of patients; furthermore, they published a more recent follow-up study, in which their original findings remained basically unchanged. To base a therapeutic approach toward women with unwanted pregnancies on the evidence quoted by Dr. Watters and to ignore the massive evidence presented in my survey would be unacceptable.
Extract Apparently Dr. Carlos Del Campo (Can Med Assoc J 1984; 130: 361, 362, 366) consulted only a small portion of the literature in concluding that it shows “no evidence that a continued unwanted pregnancy will endanger the mother’s mental health”. He ignored the Aberdeen study, . . .Dr. Del Campo was very selective in examining the work done in Czechoslovakia. . . the conclusion to be drawn from these studies is that termination of an unwanted pregnancy is likely to be beneficial to a woman’s mental health if it is her choice to exercise this option, whereas mandatory motherhood is likely to be harmful to her mental health. This conclusion is consistent with my clinical experience of 20 years in working with couples and families, as it is with that of many other family psychiatrists.
Extract The children of women who have been denied an abortion are at risk of certain disadvantages, but such problems could be alleviated by better adoption and social programs. Since well educated women have the most “liberal” attitudes towards abortion’4 and are the least likely to have economic reasons for wanting an abortion, programs to prevent abortion should be directed towards changing their attitudes. Also, women who have been denied abortion should be followed up, both for the child’s sake and to prevent further requests for abortion.
Extract Therapeutic abortions have been extensively condemned for religious and moral reasons; these arguments have not been strong enough to prevent them. This objective statistical analysis poses an argument for all those who require a different approach to the problem. The child of the woman you persuade not to undergo an abortion today may be the person whose productivity will save your existence tomorrow.