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The hazards of abortion for women are greatest for teenagers, according to a research report, “Differential Adverse Impact on Teenagers Who Undergo Induced Abortion,” Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change, Vol. 15, No. 1.

Researchers found that, in comparison to women who had abortions after 20 years of age, the adolescent women had higher incidences of antisocial traits, paranoia, drug abuse, psychotic delusions, nightmares, and post-abortion suicide attempts.

A study of 75 female runaway adolescents in New York City found that suicide attempts and ideation were significantly related to a prior abortion.

Another inner city study indicated that teens who were HIV+ were more likely to have a history of abortion. This relationship was found also in a study of women in West Africa where abortion was a risk factor for HIV-1 infection, with women in the teen years having the greatest risk.

A prior elective abortion has also been found to be related to significantly higher drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers. Such substance abuse appears to be both a cause and effect of induced abortion.

Repeat abortions are a frequent phenomena since adolescents in particular seek replacement pregnancies. A Los Angeles study found that 38 percent of teenagers having an abortion had had a previous abortion, and 18 percent had had two abortions in the same year.

Teens who decide to have an abortion are more likely than older women to have been pressured by parents, boyfriend or peers, and therefore the decision is difficult and hazardous.

Some psychiatrists have concluded that adolescent immaturity is a likely contributor to ambivalence about the decision and to distorted perception about the procedure. This can lead to various pathological reactions, including suicide attempts, detachment from reality and increased risk for later abuse.

These are conclusions from some of the various research studies reported. To obtain a copy of this report, call 202-626-8800, ext. 112. [Choose Life, NRLC, Jul-Aug 01]