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Recent DI advertising supplement strikingly inaccurate

BY AMBER FRICKE and AMY HIRST - GUEST OPINION | OCTOBER 27, 2009 7:20 AM

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We, the UI Law Students for Reproductive Justice, object to your inclusion of the advertising supplement in the Oct. 20 edition of The Daily Iowan. Much of the information in the ad was alarmingly inaccurate. The following information is intended to correct a few of the misrepresentations:

• The Supreme Court has recognized that the Constitution guarantees the right to an abortion. However, states are free to regulate abortion services so long as the regulation does not violate the Constitution. For example, Iowa prohibits abortion in the third trimester, with exceptions only for the life or health of the woman.

Thirty-seven additional states have laws that prohibit abortion after a specific point in the pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research group.

• Abortion is not hazardous to women’s mental health. The American Psychological Association has concluded that “among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.”

In 2000, researchers published the results of their study in Arch Gen Psychiatry on women who had an abortion. The study found that “301 (72 percent) of 418 women were satisfied with their decision; 306 (69 percent) of 441 said they would have the abortion again; 315 (72 percent) of 440 reported more benefit than harm from their abortion; and 308 (80 percent) of 386 were not depressed. Six (1 percent) of 442 reported posttraumatic stress disorder.”

In addition, the study concluded that “Most women do not experience psychological problems or regret their abortion two years post-abortion, but some do. Those who do tend to be women with a prior history of depression.”

• Neither birth-control pills nor Plan B cause abortions. These are both hormonal methods that, according to the Federal Drug Administration, “prevent pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilization, and/or implantation of the fertilized egg.”

• An abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer. A Danish study done in the 1990s found that abortions have “no overall effect of the risk of breast cancer.” In 2007, Harvard researchers published a study involving 100,000 women over 10 years and found “no link between either spontaneous or induced abortions and breast cancer.”

We ask that The Daily Iowan do whatever it can to clarify that this supplement was not published or endorsed by the paper itself and ask that in the future you consider that your readers trust you to have accurate and fact-checked information. We encourage you to examine our sources and the information we have provided and decide to share the medically and legally accurate information with your readers.

Distributing medically and legally inaccurate materials designed to scare your audience and mislead them has the potential harm not only your readers — especially college-aged women — but the reputation of the DI.

Amber Fricke and Amy Hirst are UI law students and members of Law Students for Reproductive Justice.


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