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A recent study showed that women who had abortions were at an increased risk of dying, especially in the first 2 years. This new study shows the powerful effect of the loss of a child. Although not directly touching on abortion, it would seem that this would be compounded in abortion since the mother herself participates in the loss of her child.

N. Valko, R.N. 


At Risk: The Added Toll of Bereavement

The death of a child often shortens the life of the mother, a Dutch study has found. The study, which was released last week [1/03] by The Lancet, also found an increased risk of early death among fathers, but a far smaller one.

The study compared mortality rates over 18 years among a group of 21,000 parents who had lost children below the age of 18 and 293,000 who had not. Researchers from the Danish Epidemiology Science Center found an increase in deaths during the first three years of bereavement, and that most of the increase came from causes other than illness, like suicide or a car crash. The risk was particularly acute among women whose children had died unexpectedly or from something other than illness. In the first three years after the child’s death, those mothers died at a rate almost four times as great as the mothers who had not lost a child. After 10 years, the effect on overall health began to show up, as deaths from natural causes among the bereaved mothers began to exceed those for mothers in the comparison group, the article said. [,

NYT: 4Feb03; NV]