Thursday, 14 October 2010

"I don't have low self-esteem. I have low esteem for everyone else."

"Teenage abortion not linked to low self esteem!" trumpets some random website that pops up in my Google news alert for "abortion" (because I am the coolest and also funnest). Said website prides itself on being an "internet news channel" because they "believe in the power of instant news". Shame they're way late on this one!

"For years", they claim, "medical officials and researchers have believed that pregnant teens that have an abortion are likely to be depressed and have low self esteem for a significant amount of time." Well, no, actually, for years it's been a heavily contested issue (ha, unlike everything else concerning abortion), with various studies showing wildly different results, each with their own wealth of problems - because it's an incredibly difficult subject to research. 

Think about it: your hypothesis is "women who terminate a pregnancy are more likely to experience mental health issues." More likely... than who? Women who've never been pregnant? Women who became pregnant unexpectedly, but decided to continue with the pregnancy? The closest thing to an ideal control group is to take a group of women who don't want to continue their pregnancies, and randomly assign them to 'get their abortion' or 'refused their abortion' groups. Which is - obviously, I would hope - ethically catasfucktrophic, and also wouldn't tell us much because being forced to carry and give birth to an unwanted child would be, for many, really quite unpleasant. Like, the kind of thing that may upset you, even trigger some kind of mental illness, maybe?

For further reading, may I recommend the Science & Technology Select Committee report on Scientific Developments relating to the Abortion Act 1967, which, again, is the kind of thing I read for kicks.

The upshot being that the lovely people at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists - who I would tentatively include in's "medical officials and researchers" - have concluded that "there is no causal association between an induced abortion for an unwanted pregnancy and future psychiatric illness or self-harm." Woohoo! So high fives,, for catching on. That's only been the stated position of the UK's highest relevant medical body since 2004.

But my favourite part (this is the fun cherry at the bottom of the Empirical Statistical Evidence sundae you've just munched your way through - congratulations for getting this far!) is the link at the bottom: an unassuming little line inviting you to improve your self esteem.


Hi.... my name is Dr. Robert Anfield and i am hear to SAVE YOU from the terrible pit of low self-esteem caused by abortion and paying too much attention to the rules of punctuation.....IMPOSABLE THOUGH IT MAY SEEM.

Your Level Of Personal Self Esteem Is The Very Foundation For Future Success And Fulfillment In Your Life. And happily not dapendant on Whether Or Not you have Terminated a Pregnancy.

And that, kids, is your inspirational thought for the day.


  1. Hie. This is Dr Robert Anfield useing the log-in of a freind, and I have to say that I am feeling a grate deal of NEGITIVETY from this post about the heeling power of ESTEEMBUILDING.

    My TRYED AND TESTED METHOD involves placing HEAVY WEIGHTS ON YOUR SELF-ESTEEM, building up STRENGTH and ENDURINCE until you are ready to shoulder the BURDENS OF LIFE. Small weights at first, such as guilt about not putting the recycling bins out on a Wednesday or over petty office theft, and then when you are ready we move to ORIGINAL SIN and EXITSENTIAL DREAD.

    Then we test ur progress by making a massive incorrect Direct Debit deducation from your account in error, to see if you'll ring us to complain. In some cases, sad 2 say, nobody rings, but that's ok, it's literally your loss.


    Also, never believe anything u read on the Internet, INCLUDING THIS. Theres a lot of RUBBISH OUT THERE. It is not referenced, and neither am I. Thank you.

  2. DAMNGHIT, ur better at thiss Than I Am. Curse yew Profezional Righters.