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Women Who Have Abortions Four Times More Likely to Abuse Drugs, Alcohol

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Manitoba finds women who have had abortions are about four times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as those who carried their pregnancy to term.

The authors confirmed a link between abortion and the substance abuse issues.

Natalie Mota, a PhD student in the U of M's clinical psychology department, co-wrote the study with authors Margaret Burnett and Jitender Sareen.

The study appeared in the April 2010 issue of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry and it showed women having abortions were 3.8 times more likely to have substance abuse disorders.

That was the case even when other factors such as exposure to violence were included that could have raised the risk outside of abortion.

The Canadian study also found abortion associated with other mental health conditions such as mood disorders, but substance abuse proved to be the strongest link when it comes to post-abortion problems for women.

"These are associations only," Mota told the Toronto Sun newspaper. "Further research needs to look at the different factors that might be playing a part."

Still, the study provides more evidence that abortions hurt women as Mota told the newspaper hers was larger than many prior studies showing adverse mental health issues for women following an abortion compared with keeping the baby.

Mota and her colleagues told the Sun they also suggest abortion centers pre-screen women for substance abuse problems prior to abortions. Women who already have struggles with drug and alcohol abuse may see those problems exacerbated by the abortion. Currently, abortion centers typically don't provide such screening or encourage women who struggle with those mental health issues to carry to term.

Priscilla Coleman, an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, has already conducted multiple studies on the link between abortion and mental health problems for women.

Coleman analyzed the study further and found that, when compared to women without a history of abortion, those who had an abortion had a 61% increased risk for mood disorders. Social Phobia was linked with a 61% increased risk and suicide ideation with a 59% increased risk.

"In the area of substance abuse the increased risk for alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, drug abuse, drug dependence, and any substance use disorder were equal to 261%, 142%, 313%, 287%, and 280% respectively," she told

"Between 5.8% and 24.7% of the national prevalence of all the above disorders was determined to be related to abortion."

Coleman told the Canadian study affirms "results of many previous studies on abortion and mental health" and are generally consistent with our results using an earlier version of the National Co-morbidity Survey (NCS) data."

The Canadian researchers used the NCS replication data collected between 2001 and 2003.

"A large nationally representative U.S. sample was examined for associations between abortion and life-time prevalence of numerous mental disorders and suicidal behavior," she said.

Coleman said researchers who support legal abortions "frequently claim the associations between abortion and mental health problems in the literature are due to an unmeasured history of violence exposure being related to both the choice to abort and to mental health problems."

"Mota and colleagues tested this assumption by controlling for violence in all the analyses conducted. They also controlled for age, education, marital status, household income, and ethno-racial background," she said. "The results revealed statistically significant associations between abortion history and a wide range of mental health problems after controlling for the experience of interpersonal violence and demographic variables."

Coleman says the new study provides more evidence for the American Psychological Association in a challenge to its position that abortion presents no mental health problems for women.

"This report represents the latest in a series of articles from across the globe (U.S., New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and South Africa) published in recent years directly contradicting the findings of the American Psychological Association Task Force report released in 2008. Large scale, well-controlled studies using sophisticated data analysis methodologies consistently confirm a relationship between abortion and psychological distress that the national professional organization has dismissed," the professor said.

"Standing above the political controversies regarding the legality of abortion, several contemporary researchers have demonstrated a willingness to publish data that contradicts many well-ingrained socio-cultural beliefs regarding psychology as a benign psychological experience. This is good news for science, the healing professions, and for women," she concluded.  [April 2010 issue, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry; 3May2010, Ertelt, Winnipeg, Canada,, ]



Manitoba Univ. Study Links Abortion and Mental Illness/Suicide

 Researchers at the University of Manitoba have published findings of a study showing a link between abortion, mental illness and suicide.

The researchers, from the departments of psychology and psychiatry, as well as obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, found that abortion was associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and suicide attempts.

They report that depression and drug dependence followed abortion in about half of the women studied.  Additionally, women with a household income of $75,000 or more were more likely to report an abortion than those with household incomes under $25,000.

They used data from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Drug Abuse to look for correlations between a number of factors, including abortion, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, disruptive behaviour and suicide attempts. They then checked for evidence of mental disorders following abortions.

“This was the first study to examine associations between abortion and several mental disorders,” says Dr. Jitender Sareen, psychiatry. 

“We found a higher likelihood of lifetime mood disorder in women who had experienced an abortion compared with those who had never had an abortion.”

Sareen pointed out, however, that the data, while identifying a correlation, was unable to speak to the question of causation. “A woman with a mood disorder might be more inclined to have an abortion, while conversely, an unplanned pregnancy and abortion could precipitate a mood disorder,” he said.

“Studies like this are so validating for men and women who are suffering,” said Angelina Steenstra, national coordinator of Canada's Silent No More Awareness Campaign, who indicated that, based upon
her experience, the disorders identified by the researchers are the direct result of abortion.

Silent No More Awareness has brought together countless men and women, who have shared their personal stories about their abortions and how they negatively impacted their lives.

Steenstra, who obtained an abortion when she was 15 after being date-raped, and has since suffered from infertility, said she certainly experienced the effects identified by the study. 

“At the moment the baby died through abortion, I knew something terrible happened and I was never going to be able to undo it,” she told LifeSiteNews.  “I knew that I had participated in the taking of another human life.”

“I was plummeted into a depression that lasted for years, until I actually started making the connection that the depression was related to the aftermath of abortion,” she said.  “I didn't deal with it, I avoided the truth.”

Following the abortion, she says, her “lifestyle became corrupted,” including involvement with drugs, partying, and promiscuous behavior.  “I tainted my behavior to, really, cover up the pain of the abortion,” she added.

She was only able to move out of the depression, she said, “by seeing the truth” in an image of an aborted baby.  “I came out of the depression when I started grieving my lost child,” she added, explaining that she only did so after losing a second child through an ectopic pregnancy, which was connected to her abortion.

“The claim that abortion is safe is not true.  Women are still dying from abortion, even though it is supposed to be legal and safe,” she said.  “It's dangerous for women psychologically. … It's dangerous on the level of relationships.  It was dangerous for me physically.”

“I think that information like this is so helpful to men and women who are suffering, as I suffered, because it's a name,” she said.  “Once you name something, that's the first step of healing, to acknowledge, to accept, to become aware of what you're suffering.”

Once people become aware of the negative effects of abortion, she said, they can begin the journey towards healing through such after-care programs as Rachel's Vineyard or Entering Canaan, which is run by the Sisters of Life.  “When people plug in to those after-care programs, they actually move on and can turn the other page, and integrate the experience into their life,” she explained.

The University of Manitoba study, entitled 'Associations Between Abortion, Mental Disorders, and Suicidal Behaviour in a Nationally Representative Sample', was published this month in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

For information about post-abortion healing through Rachel's Vineyard visit their website.
[April 30, 2010, Patrick B. Craine, Winnipeg, Manitoba,, ]





Study Affirms Link Between Abortion and Mental Health Problems: Increase in Suicidal Thoughts, Substance Use and Other Problems After Abortion
A new study has found that women are more likely to experience substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and other problems after abortion, affirming the results of previous studies finding a link between abortion and mental health problems.

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, examined a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 women in the United States.

The researchers found that, after controlling for age, marital status, race, education, household income and any violence, women in the study who underwent an abortion had a 98 percent increased risk for any mental health disorders compared to women who did not have an abortion.

Women who had abortions also had:
59 percent increased risk for suicidal thoughts
61 percent increased risk for mood disorders
61 percent increased risk for social anxiety disorders
261 percent increased risk for alcohol abuse
313 percent increased risk for drug abuse
280 percent increased risk for any substance use disorder
Approximately 6 percent of suicidal ideation cases among women nationwide and 25 percent of cases of drug use could be related to abortion, the researchers found.1

The study affirms findings from earlier studies showing that women are more likely to suffer emotional injury after undergoing abortion.

For example, a 2005 New Zealand study found that, even after controlling for existing mental health problems, women who aborted were more likely to later experience depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.2

And a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in 2008 found that mental disorders among women who had abortions were 17 percent higher than among women who did not have abortions. When researchers looked at specific disorders, the increased rate among women who had abortions ranged from 44 percent higher for panic attacks to 167 percent higher for bipolar disorder.3

Abortion and Violence
The new study affirms that mental health problems associated with abortion cannot be solely explained by an exposure to other forms of violence. The earlier 2008 study also found that abortion was more likely to cause mental health problems among women than was a history of other traumas such as childhood sexual abuse, rape, physical violence or neglect.

Elliot Institute director Dr. David Reardon, who has worked on more than a dozen studies on mental health issues after abortion, said that further research is also needed to look at the other side of the equation: whether having an abortion is likely to increase a women's risk of suffering violence or abuse.

He expressed concern that the study published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry made no distinction between exposure to violence that occurred before the abortion and exposure which occurred after the abortion, noting that violence may actually be an aftereffect of abortion.

"I believe this is a very important distinction which should be investigated, as we have evidence from surveys and interviews with women which indicate that abortion may increase a woman's risk of experiencing violence in numerous ways," Reardon said. "In short, controlling for exposure to violence which occurs after an abortion may be taking out one of the effects of abortion rather than an independent factor."

Other studies have found an increase in suicide, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, sleep disorders, symptoms of post-traumatic stress and other problems. This latest study adds more evidence to the need for meaningful help and alternatives to abortion, as well as measures, such as that recently passed in Nebraska, that would hold abortion businesses liable for failing to screen for coercion and other known factors that put women and teens at risk for mental health disorders after abortion.

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1. Mota, NP et. al., "Associations Between Abortion, Mental Disorders a

nd Suicidal Behavior in a Nationally Representative Sample," The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 55(4): 239-246 (April 2010).

2. Fergusson, DM et. al., "Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health," Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2006) 47(1): 16-24.

3. Coleman, PK et. al., "Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national comorbidity survey," Journal of Psychiatric Research (2008), doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.10.009.

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