“Morning Ireland” forced to clarify truth on Dr. Fergusson interview

Editor’s note. While my family and I are on vacation, we are running some of our favorite NRL News Today stories from the last four months, entries from our “Roe at 40″ series, and an occasional update.. The following is excerpted from a May 9 post on the Irish pro-life site, LifeZone. RTÉ refers to Radio (and) Television of Ireland.

Prof. David Fergusson

Prof. David Fergusson

This morning, May 9, 2013, the RTÉ news programme, “Morning Ireland,” was forced to admit the truth about their earlier claim that Dr. David Fergusson was ‘unhappy’ with how pro-life groups were presenting his research.

Anyone listening to both interviews yesterday would have been astonished at how the programme took comments made by Dr. Fergusson and tried to use them against the pro-life movement.

Cathal McCoille asked Dr. Fergusson to comment on the following statements made in relation to his research: “Abortion does not improve mental health of women, says new study” and “Abortion has no mental health benefits, poses more risk for ‘unwanted pregnancies’: [says] study”.

Dr. Fergusson replied saying: “We have just completed a review of the evidence and our review was that there was no evidence that abortion mitigated any mental health risks of unwanted pregnancy and that was based upon a review of the very limited research and I think the first point to make is that the research is not particularly good and any conclusion Dr.awn should be made very cautiously. But that was our major conclusion. We could not find any evidence of benefits.”

Clearly he had no problem with the statements being made by pro-life commentators.

Cathal McCoille then asked for Dr. Fergusson’s comment on this quote: “Researchers ‘found that abortion had no therapeutic value in reducing the mental health risks’. Instead, the evidence suggests that abortion may be associated with an increased risk of some mental health problems.”

Dr. Fergusson said: “That statement is true. We found that when we compared women who had an abortion with equivalent groups of women who had unwanted pregnancies or intended pregnancies the women having abortions had slightly higher rates of mental health problems.”

Just to confirm: Dr. Fergusson said the statement was true. Not that he was unhappy with the statement. It’s difficult to mix up ‘unhappy’ with ‘true’. …

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Later that morning, “Morning Ireland” decided not to let the facts get in the way of a good story and put it to Prof. Patricia Casey that they had interviewed “Professor David Fergusson, a psychologist at the University of Otago in Christchurch, who was unhappy with the way he believes his views and particularly the results of his researches are being used by those opposed to abortion legislation in Ireland. We specifically put to him a number of remarks made to him, rather about him, by the Iona Institute, which of course opposes legislation[to liberalize the abortion law in Ireland] and he made clear his unhappiness with the way in which his views had been interpreted and he specifically said that he has not carried out any research at all into women who say they are suicidal and who are looking for an abortion.”

Patricia Casey naturally pointed out that Dr. Fergusson had said no such thing, but Cathal McCoille persisted with the allegation. Now “Morning Ireland” has been forced to admit that Prof. Fergusson did not say he was unhappy with statements made by pro-life commentators in regard to the findings of his research.

The debacle has made RTE’s agenda pretty clear and embarrassingly obvious. This is what our taxes pay for folks.