Abortion Leads to Substance Abuse for Significant Number of Women

By Gudrun Schultz

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, January 23, 2006 ( –A recent study reinforces previous findings that women who have abortions frequently turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the aftereffects of the trauma.

Author Pricilla Coleman, professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, said studies show women who have abortions are up to five times more likely to use drugs and alcohol, and to smoke, than women who have not had an abortion, in a research review published in Current Women’s Health Reviews.

Coleman said studies show women are more likely than men to rely on drugs or alcohol for help in dealing with severe personal trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, or illness and family dysfunction.

Dr. David Reardon, a post-abortion expert and director of research at the Elliot Institute, an non-profit organization that tracks the impact of abortion, said there are at least 21 studies linking induced abortion and substance abuse, in an Elliot Institute press release.

“Many women who have experienced abortion have unresolved emotional issues related to their abortion,” he said. “Substance abuse can provide an easily accessible way to self-medicate their pain and numb their emotions.”

Reardon said mental health workers need to recognize the devastating effects of abortion, and find ways of helping women deal with the buried fallout.

“If treatment for substance abuse or other mental health problems fails to address underlying factors such as abortion, the treatment may be ineffective and women are likely to continue to turn to substances such as drugs or alcohol to cope,” Reardon said.

Studies have also found significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal tendencies, psychiatric hospitalization and poor bonding with and parenting of later children, in women who have had an abortion.

See full report from the Elliot Institute here:

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