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Friday, February 28, 2014

How do mental health professionals deal with abortion?

[Today's guest post by Chris Rostenberg is part of our paid blogging program.]

Many mental health providers in Westchester County, New York, censor speech about abortion in day programs, outpatient or inpatient therapy, group therapy, one-on-one therapy, social clubs and half-way houses.

I have a mental illness. I also believe strongly that abortion is a form of genocide (broadly defined). Discussion of this view is simply not tolerated in the mental health field. When I tried to express by feelings on abortion on many occasions, I was told by the mental health field to shut up.

I find prebirth infanticide to be intolerable, even a crime against humanity. I first heard the word “abortion” in the 1970s, when I was in elementary school. I accompanied my mother on a feminist march in New York City. She refused to participate in all the chants and I asked why. My mother explained she did not want to defend everything the feminists were advocating, saying that, when a pregnant woman did not want to remain pregnant, she could go to a doctor to make the child “go away.” Sometime later, I learned what she meant. I came across a magazine photograph of the severed hand and tiny feet of an unborn child. Part of my innocence was lost.

Years later, after I came to oppose abortion, my view was strongly reinforced by the documentary Eclipse of Reason, narrated by former-abortionist-turned-pro-life-advocate Dr. Bernard Nathanson. A laparoscopic camera inserted through a pregnant woman’s naval depicted a beautiful unborn boy in the fourth month of pregnancy. Another camera fixed on the woman’s groin graphically depicted the boy as he is ripped apart and removed from the mother’s vagina in bloody pieces. Something inside of me broke. I watched Eclipse repeatedly to make up for those in denial. I often woke up thinking about mangled, broken, unborn children and went to bed thinking of the same. I felt like I lived in a village outside Auschwitz during World War II. I had to speak out.

When I told my therapist about my anguish over prenatal homicide, she silenced me. She was a young, female therapist at St. Vincent’s Psychiatric Hospital in Harrison and she said she did not want to “get political.” She threatened to throw me out if I mentioned abortion again. I asked how she would respond if a patient wanted help dealing with the 9/11 attack or wars in the Middle East. She would not tolerate such questions and kicked me out of her office. My therapist’s superior said I had yelled at her, which was absurd (and he took it back), but then he permanently banned me from the outpatient clinic. (Disclosure: other conflicts with that psychiatrist may have also played a role.) Ironically, I had chosen treatment at a Catholic hospital because it did not perform abortions and I had assumed they would be more sympathetic to pro-lifers.

Another incident occurred when I lived in a half-way house in Scarsdale. I posted photos of unborn children on my bedroom wall, but a staff member tore them down. My roommates had not objected to the pictures. Frustrated, I wrote to the administrators explaining that the pictures were not graphic and disturbing; I had discovered the award-winning pictures in Life magazine, which originally published them in 1965 before the abortion war had gotten underway. I was allowed to put them up again, and the woman who tore them down apologized. I later learned the staff had been instructed not to discuss abortion with me, which seems to me to be very unprofessional: I needed to communicate about prebirth infanticide. Years later, I lived at an apartment run by the same agency. I put an antiabortion poster in my window and was ordered to take it down. I put a pro-life sticker on my door, and my case manager ripped it down, saying it was not allowed.

In 2009, I attended a group therapy program at New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains. The group focused on current events from the local newspaper. I spoke about three articles, providing insight as how they could pertain to abortion. The group leader forbade me from talking about the topic again. When I got a letter published in the paper, I was not allowed it aloud because it addressed the matter of cutting up babies.

When I was inpatient, and then a couple of times when I attended an outpatient program, I participated in a role-playing game that I found objectionable. We were given a scenario where we had to pretend to save some people and let others die. The game told us the fictitious persons’ race, religion, handicaps, etcetera. I tried to explain that the game was immoral under pro-life theory because some people were seen as having more right to live than others. Staff never seemed to try to understand what I was objecting to, and they did not defend me when my peers got annoyed. I was told I should simply not participate, but I wanted to ruin the game, which I did each time I played it.

I’ve even been censured for speech that did not occur in an area under the purview of psychiatrists. I spoke to a woman about abortion in the cafeteria of a mental hospital. She was from the former Soviet Union and she told me her mother had had ten abortions, and that she herself had had two. I told her, perhaps too bluntly, that she had had no right to kill her babies. She reported me to staff and I was called into my therapist’s office. My therapist had already made clear that she disapproved of my vocal protests. Shortly after this event, I was ejected from the program and I have no doubt my speech was a reason.

The Sterling Community Center in White Plains is a social club for the mentally ill. I expressed my concerns about prebirth infanticide in a group therapy session. I was told to not bring it up again. At Hope House, another social club for the mentally ill, a woman friend and I read aloud to each other essays I had written about prenatal homicide. After a while, a woman member of the club asked us to go into another room. I told her I did not want to, but that I would have no objections if she moved into another room. A few minutes later, a staff member asked me and my friend to stop talking about abortion. We refused. Later, another staff and then a third asked us to be silent. We refused. The senior staff member made a phone call to the woman who ran the social club. I was asked to come to the phone but I wanted to keep reading and refused to come to the phone. I was then told by the senior staff member that her superior on the phone had said that if I did not stop discussing abortion, she would call the police. For talking about abortion. I left.

Censorship regarding unborn human rights is not unbiased; it helps the dominant side (which is pro-choice-to-kill) and the side that would suffer under fair debate (again the pro-choice-to-kill side). This phenomenon of avoiding discussion of abortion hurts the thousands of post-abortive women who regret their abortions and may search the field of psychologists in vain for someone willing to discuss their suffering. Men whose children have been killed need help too. Psychiatric censorship also leads to more abortions because people fail to learn how bad prebirth infanticide is. Another area where abortion and mental health overlap involves the possibility of future eugenic abortion of mentally ill unborn. Many Down syndrome children are killed before birth, and if the genes leading to mental illness are discovered, thousands of such children could be chopped up before birth.

This dishonest attitude in the psychiatric community should be taken in context. We live in a society where few individuals or institutions want to deal candidly about unborn child evisceration. When pro-choice-to-kill activists do speak, they use code language with terms like “choice issue” or “reproductive rights.” I have been censored by pro-choicers in two college campuses. Many members of my family and friends have let me know they will not tolerate my attempts to talk to them about abortion. Two cousins and numerous former friends have “unfriended” me on Facebook because they object to my frank language about the child killings they support and collude in. The problem is that prebirth infanticide is tolerated not because it is acceptable, but because it is so dreadful people cannot easily wrap their minds around it. 

Abortion is insane. Thinking it is not insane is insane. Not thinking about it is insane. When I consider the people in the mental health care system who wanted to silence me, I think, Who is the crazy one here?

11 comments:

Mirable said...

What should the punishment be for this genocide if it is illegal someday? Nurnberg style trials?

John Bates said...

Chris, it seems from the post that you have a history of proselytizing about abortion in contexts where it is not appreciated. I fully understand that it is difficult not to speak up when you feel very strongly about an issue. In fact, it may be more righteous to do so. Socially, however, we have strong implicit bounds on what we can say.

I don’t find that butting heads with people in inappropriate situations to be rewarding, either personally or in terms of shifting opinion. I don’t eat meat but I don’t offer an explanation as to why unless I’m really pushed. It’s just simpler at a BBQ remove the meat and surreptitiously feed it to the dog when nobody is looking.

As a non-religious person, I thought I was pretty much alone in being philosophically opposed to abortion. Yet, through social media, I find that there are many like-minded people, six million in the US alone according to this site. I would suggest that you channel your energy into forums such as this and organised events rather than ad-hoc conversations in social and working situations, if only for your personal well-being.


It sounds like the documentary had a very significant effect on you and perhaps you were too young to see something like that? I’m slowly coming to the realisation through blog posts such as yours that unborn babies are dissected before being removed. Obviously, I’m hoping that this happens post mortem. Well, it will be post mortem, I’m just hoping it’s not the cause of death. I watched a video from an abortion survivor that described some process with saline solution, so I’m desperately hoping that there’s some kind of euthanasia involved before dissection. That is a very difficult subject matter for me to deal with and I’m a fully grown adult who has been around the traps.

It’s wrong that you have not been able to find appropriate therapy for your needs. I think you should to be very specific that your trauma revolves around exposure to and strong feelings about abortion before you make the appointment. They should then be able to hook you up with an appropriate therapist.

Mirable said...

So you would find abortion to be acceptable if every abortion was performed through c section?

LN said...

D&E -- Mother is given anesthetics but they don't give a crap about the child they're dismembering, hence the dismembering part: http://www.moondragon.org/obgyn/graphics/dilationevacuation.jpg

John Bates said...

No.

John Bates said...

Ok, that is gruesome. I know it's reality and if you're on a site specifically about the abortion issue then I suppose you're going to see things like that.


I have seen 23 week gestation babies in the NICU and they definitely react to pain. I suppose that a sufficient anaesthetic dose to kill the foetus more humanely would have a bad effect on the 'mother' given the shared blood supply.

Mirable said...

Then why does method of removal matter?

Mirable said...

Because they are breathing oxygen. They are anaesthetized while in the womb. And there is research which suggests that prior to 35 weeks, the prenate cannot distinguish touch from pain. Furthermore, babies born without brains are utterly incapable of experiencing pain, but they will react to noxious stimuli cuz brainstem. And from what I understand, if the woman is given anesthesia, it will also affect the prenate.

LN said...

I need to read up on it, but there are surgical procedures specifically for late-term fetuses so I imagine there's a way to anesthetize only the fetus...? I mean you are one big blood supply to yourself, yet we can administer local anesthetics. So there must be a way to do that.

Plum Dumpling said...

If the woman is anesthetized the fetus is anesthetized. Cute drawings.

thedoorisajar said...

The fetus is naturally anaesthetized and sedated whilst in utero.

Furthermore, the heart is painlessly stopped first with a fatal injection.