Studies - Depression / Suicide / Mental Health

Study Shows 85 Percent of Women Say Abortions Cause Mental Health Issues (BJP, 11/2009)

Study Shows 85 Percent of Women Say Abortions Cause Mental Health Issues
A new report from researchers at a university in New Zealand indicates 85 percent of women who had abortions report negative mental health issues as a result. The report is the latest from professor David Fergusson and his team showing abortions cause problems for women.

The University of Otago team examined the medical history of over 500 women and concluded having an abortion generally “leads to significant distress in some” women who have them.

It noted women reporting adverse reactions to their abortions were up to 80 percent more likely to have mental health problems and risk of mental illness was “proportional to the degree of distress” associated with the abortion.

The study, which appears in the latest issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, examined data from women who had been interviewed six times between the ages of 15 and 30 and who were asked if they were pregnant and, if so, the outcome of the pregnancy.

More than 85 percent of women reported negative reactions to their abortions including sorrow, sadness, guilt, regret, grief and disappointment.

The study revealed that women who have abortions face more negative mental health problems resulting from that pregnancy outcome as compared with women who keep their baby and carry to term. Women having abortions had rates of mental health problems “approximately 1.4 to 1.8 times higher than women not exposed to abortion."


Ultimately, Fergusson and his team said there is little justification for saying that legal abortions should be promoted on the basis of a improving a woman's mental health.

“Collectively, this evidence raises important questions about the practice of justifying termination of pregnancy on the grounds that this procedure will reduce risks of mental health problems in women having unwanted pregnancy," the team wrote.

The team said the study showed no reason to “support strong pro-choice positions that claim unwanted pregnancy terminated by abortion is without mental health risks.”

The new study is a follow-up to previous studies Fergusson and his team conducted showing women who have abortions are more likely to become severely depressed.

The original 2006 study found some 42 percent of the women who had abortions had experienced major depression within the last four years. That's almost double the rate of women who never became pregnant. The risk of anxiety disorders also doubled.

According to the study, women who have abortions were twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs.

A second study Fergusson's team released found that women who had abortions had rates of mental health problems about 30% higher than other women. The conditions most associated with abortion included anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders.

The authors concluded that anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 percent of all mental health disorders seen in New Zealand result from women having abortions.

British Victims of Abortion, which helps women who suffer medical and mental health problems after an abortion, has welcomed the results of the new report.

Margaret Cuthill of BVA commented: "What we at British Victims of Abortion hear in the counseling room confirms the truth of Professor Fergusson's results." [November 3, 2009, #4744,http://www.lifenews.com/int1371.html, Ertelt, DC]