Studies - General Research

Substance Abuse and Abortion (ASB,1986,1993)

A study based on a national, random sample of 700 women participating in a reproductive history survey, found that of the women surveyed, those who aborted their first pregnancy were 3.9 times more likely to engage in subsequent drug or alcohol abuse than those who have never had an abortion. Women who engaged in substance abuse prior to their first pregnancy were excluded from the study.

These findings had a high degree of statistical significance, p<.0001, which means that there is less than 1 chance in 10,000 that these finding could have occurred due to chance. 

Numerous other studies on substance abuse have also reported a correlation with abortion. For example, a 1981 random study found that women who admitted a history of induced abortion were more than twice as likely to be heavy drinkers (13%) compared to women in general (6%) (A. Klassen, “Sexual Experience and Drinking Among Women in a U.S. National Survey,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, 15(5):363, 1986)

The Elliot Institute study found that for all the women surveyed who were pregnant prior to a history of substance abuse, the rate of post-pregnancy substance abuse rose from 3.8% for women who did not abort, to 14.6% for women who did abort their first pregnancy. 

These findings are of special concern because abortion related substance abuse can have a profound impact on other areas of a woman’s life, including relationship problems, job-related difficulties, health problems, and increased risk of auto accidents resulting in injuries to themselves and others. [The Post-Abortion Review, Fall 1993]