An American study published in November in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found abortion to be "responsible for more than 10% of the population incidence of
alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, drug dependence, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and bipolar disorder". With the abortion rate in the US hovering at around 1.2 million per year,(1) these research findings mean that a procedure undertaken by less than 1% of the population is responsible for up to 10% of the nation’s mental health problems.
In New Zealand this month, a study by the University of Otago which followed 500 women over 30 years, found there to be a 30% increase in mental health disorders in women who had experienced abortion. The increase was noted even after confounding factors had been considered. The study found that abortion accounts for between 1.5% to 5.5% of the incidence of mental health disorders in the community.
This follows a 2006 New Zealand study – authored by the same Otago University’s Professor David Fergusson – which showed that abortion increases a woman’s risk of mental health problems by up to 45%, irrespective of other factors, including family structure, educational achievement, parental criminal history and childhood physical and sexual abuse. In a country where every year 2% of the population undergoes abortion(2), these percentages indicate an impending mental health crisis.
Opponents have slammed the latest reports, claiming methodology of the studies is faulty and not all confounding factors were properly allowed for. Commenting on the latest findings, Abortion Law Reform Association New Zealand (ALRANZ) President Dr Margaret Sparrow cited an August 2008 study by the American Psychological Association which stated that there was “no evidence…to support the claim that an… association between abortion history and mental health was caused by the abortion per se, as opposed to other factors.”(3) Dr Sparrow agreed with the APA report which found that while one abortion is not detrimental to women, multiple abortions could be.
The new research findings follow this year’s publication of Redeeming Grief, a close look at abortion-related trauma by renowned post abortion grief counselor, Anne Lastman. Anne’s must-read book is an honest and open discussion about the psychological, spiritual and emotional aftermath of abortion. With stories from women who have experienced abortion firsthand and Anne’s own 12 years of experience in the field, the book looks at a side of abortion which is rarely mentioned in the public sphere.
In most developed nations, over 95% of abortions are procured on grounds of mental health. These research findings strongly suggest that abortion is not beneficial to a woman’s health after all.
(1)Guttmacher Institute – July 2008 Statistics; www.guttmacher.org Accessed 2-12-2008
(2)Statistics New Zealand – December 2007; www.stats.gov.nz Accessed 2-12-2008
(3)Report of the APA Taskforce on Mental Health and Abortion – August 2008; www.alranz.org Accessed 2-12-2008
© Eva Whiteley 2008