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Women who have abortions are more likely than others to suffer from anxiety problems, substance abuse, sexual disorders, and suicidal thoughts.

This study, published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, found that among women with unintended first pregnancies, thos who aborted were 30 percent more likely to suffer from symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder: irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of unreality.

Researchers were able to exclude other factors that contribute to anxiety, such as race and age. “One of the criticisms of this kind of research is that if you find a link between abortion and anxiety, it’s because thw women were already anxious or in poor life circumstances,” Cougle said. “The fact that we were able to control for those variables and still find a significant relationship suggests the abortion was a causal factor.”

The team examined data obtained from nearly 11,000 women between the ages of 15 and 34 provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevnetion’s 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. All had unintended first pregnancies, but no previous reports of anxiety.

Lead author Jesse Cougle, M.Sc.