Tuesday 16 August 2011

SPUC's Anthony Ozimic explains why more research is needed on how abortion impacts abortionists

Further to my blogpost last Friday, Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's communications manager, has kindly sent me his comments explaining why more research is needed on how abortion impacts abortionists. His comments are extracts from the summary of his 2005 dissertation "The effect of abortion on moral character" (pictured. Readers who would like to read the full dissertation can request it by emailing anthonyozimic@spuc.org.uk):
Ill effects
There are some indications which suggest that substance abuse, sexual abuse, lack of respect for women, deceit, and gross negligence of professional standards may be common within the abortion industry, at least within the United States. Other phenomena, not necessarily directly associated by society generally with moral degradation, but a possible indication of personality breakdown or similar tension, are also connected anecdotally with abortion practice. Mental illness, failure at relationships and suicidal tendencies are also attributed to the experience of abortionists, at least ‘repentant’ abortionists in the aftermath of their rejection of the practice of abortion.

Further work needed
Despite there being evidence both at a theoretical and an evidential level for claiming that abortion negatively effects the moral character of abortionists, further work needs to be done at both levels to demonstrate this convincingly.

Current evidence of limited value
Regarding qualitative and quantitative evidence of a degradation of moral character among abortionists, some initial work in this area has been done by Dr Philip Ney and his wife Dr Marie Peeters, by Dr Rachel McNair and by Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics. Ney and Peeters found in their survey of former abortionists that 100% felt that they were moderately or completely dehumanised by the abortion industry. However, as no independent quantitative studies or independent qualitative studies have been conducted into the moral characters of abortionists, the evidence is necessarily of limited value at this time [2005]. The evidence is furthermore limited mostly to the United States. We should therefore seek to use this limited evidence not for purposes of making strong claims or reaching definitive conclusions but merely to reflect upon the evidence and be enabled thereby to pose certain questions.

More data needed
Research into the negative effect of abortion on the moral character of abortionists can only evolve through the collection of more data. Surveys of current abortionists may be necessary to provide the data necessary to test possible theories. There are a number of potential obstacles, however, to a survey of current abortionists, such as access to a sufficient cohort. It may be difficult to compile contact-details of abortionists. Abortionists may refuse to respond. Pro-abortion groups may advise abortionists not to respond. Abortionists may under- or over-report more in a survey by a pro-lifer than they would in a survey by a pro-abortion or neutral surveyor, thereby skewing the data gathered. I am unaware of any surveys of British abortionists. There are significant differences in the abortion ‘cultures’ of the US and other countries, which mean that data from the US cannot be used to make definitive conclusions about abortionists in other countries. It may therefore not be possible to conduct a survey that is ethical, objective or statistically valuable.

Communist era research needed
In the same way that comparisons, connections and distinctions have been made between abortionists today and the role of persons individually and collectively in Nazi Germany, similar work could be extended to encompass both abortion and other intentional killings in Communist-era eastern Europe, where abortion rates were extremely high, with abortion in some instances being the primary form of birth control.

A good outcome would be to make those currently unconvinced of the objective wrongness of abortion to question whether abortion, viewed subjectively in terms of the effect on one's character, is desirable. Pro-abortion groups complain of an increasing shortage of abortionists, and want to recruit nurses into administering non-surgical abortions. Both exacerbating this shortage and preventing new recruitment are worthwhile and necessary goals for the pro-life movement.
If we can explain what effect abortion has on the moral character of abortionists, we may then know how to change the formation of medical staff so that abortion becomes unthinkable for them until it becomes illegal for them. It may be possible to convince medical staff that abortion will affect negatively their moral characters. Medics ambitious for their careers may then increasingly avoid performing abortions, see any money to be made from abortion as ‘danger money’ or even a Faustian pact, and conclude about abortion that ‘where there's smoke, there's fire’: abortion is unethical. After all, the term 'ethics' comes from the Greek word 'ethos' meaning 'character'. Bad ethics is rightly associated with bad character.
I also hope that by reflecting upon the negative effect of abortion upon the moral character of abortionists and the action of conscience within abortionists, a need for greater respect for conscientious objection to abortion may be seen.
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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