Mental health risks of abortion
There is a large body of international research which demonstrates that abortion carries risks of mental health problems. Interestingly abortion is sometimes used as a solution for a mental health problem, even though the research also tells us quite convincingly that if you have had or have a mental health problem at any time, that you are at a substantially increased risk of mental health problems after abortion.
The latest research has been a review of all the studies on abortion risks related to mental health and it demonstrates substantially increase risks of:
- 81% overall increased risk of a mental health problem
- 37% increased risk of depression
- 34% increased risk of anxiety disorders
- 110% increased risk of alcohol abuse
- 155% increased risk of suicidal tendency
For between 10-20% of women, the psychological impact of abortion is highly traumatic and affects their ability to function as they used to.
More information about the latest study and a reference is below.
According to a new study published in the highly regarded British Journal of Psychiatry, women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems. This study was a meta-analysis of 22 studies published between 1995 and 2009 involving almost 900,000 women across six countries. Research which combines and examines the results of a number of other methodologically sound studies are far more reliable than any single study alone because of the wealth of data available.
The results of these combined studies reveal higher rates of anxiety related disorders (34%), depression (37%), alcohol use/abuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and higher rates of suicidal behaviour (155%).
When comparing women who had abortions with women who delivered after an unintended pregnancy, those having abortions had an overall increased risk of 55% for experiencing any mental health problem.
The study was carried out by Dr Priscilla Coleman, a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Dr Coleman is one of the foremost researchers in the field of abortion and mental health.
Of particular interest is the finding that almost 10% of the incidence of all mental health problems in the community has been shown to be directly attributable to abortion. Given the millions of dollars expended on mental health initiatives in this country, this figure is very significant and of economic concern.
If the medical community apply the same evidence based approach to the provision of abortion services as any other medical or surgical service, this information should be incorporated into the practise of informed consent processes in order for women to make fully informed health care decisions.
Real Choices Australia believes that abortion is inherently harmful to women. More than 94% of women considering abortion do so in the absence of real choice. They also do so in the absence of full disclosure of all the potential negative outcomes. Abortion is coercive when it is presented as the only option to a woman’s circumstances. Without real and adequate support to continue a pregnancy, there is no choice.
Coleman, P. (2011) Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009. The British Journal of Psychiatry 199, 180-186