By Patrick B. Craine

Winnipeg, Manitoba, April 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - 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.