Largest ever study finds abortion increases risk of severe mental health problems by 81%
LONDON, UK, September 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A new study published today in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that women who underwent an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems. The study also found that almost 10% of all women’s mental health problems are directly linked to abortion.
Conducted by Priscilla K. Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA, the study was based on an analysis of 22 separate studies and 36 measures of effect, that involved a total of 877,181 participants of whom 163,831 had experienced an abortion. The study took into account pre-existing mental health problems prior to the abortion.
“In order to avoid any allegations of bias,” Dr. Coleman explained, “very stringent inclusion criteria were employed. This means every strong study was included and weaker studies were excluded.
“Specifically, among the rules for inclusion were sample size of 100 or more participants, use of a comparison group, and employment of controls for variables that may confound the effects such as demographics, exposure to violence, prior history of mental health problems, etc.”
This makes Dr. Coleman’s study the most comprehensive of its kind to date.
“Given the methodological limitations of recently published qualitative reviews of abortion and mental health, a quantitative synthesis was deemed necessary to represent more accurately the published literature and to provide clarity to clinicians” Dr. Coleman stated in the report.
She said her research was focused on offering “the largest quantitative estimate of mental health risks associated with abortion available in the world literature.” This, she said, would give health care practitioners “an accurate synopsis of the best available evidence in order to provide women with valid information in order to make informed health care decisions.”
The research revealed that abortion was associated with a 34% increased risk for anxiety disorders; 37% greater risk of depression; 110% greater risk of alcohol abuse and 220% greater risk of marijuana use/abuse.
Abortion was also linked with a 155% greater risk of attempting to commit suicide.
“The strongest subgroup estimates of increased risk occurred when abortion was compared with term pregnancy and when the outcomes pertained to substance use and suicidal behavior,” Dr. Coleman observed.
“Calling into question the conclusions from traditional reviews,” the report concluded, “the results revealed a moderate to highly increased risk of mental health problems after abortion. Consistent with the tenets of evidence-based medicine, this information should inform the delivery of abortion services.”
Commenting on the results of the study, Pro Life Campaign of Ireland spokesperson, Dr. Ruth Cullen said, “These findings are extremely disturbing and completely undermine pro-choice claims that abortion alleviates mental health problems. In fact, the study further proves that the opposite is the case.”
“These findings cannot be ignored,” Dr. Cullen stated. “They raise very serious issues for everyone regardless of which side they are one in the abortion debate. The best interests of women can only be served by an honest and dispassionate appraisal of the facts.”
Dr. Mary L. Davenport, president of the American Association of ProLife Obstetricians and Gynecologists and medical director of Nigeria’s Magnificat Maternal Health Project, said the study, “sheds important light on the mental health of women,” and exposes the “egregious cover-up of abortion complications” that are an aspect of “the abortion distortion.”
“This review, which is larger than any study to date, contradicts the recent and biased and less systematic review by the American Psychological Association, which fails to find a relationship between mental health problems and abortion,” Dr. Davenport wrote today in the American Thinker.
“The new meta-analysis also contradicts the stance of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), which has been silent on the mental health impact of abortion in its official publications despite overwhelming evidence over the last two decades of abortion’s adverse effects.”
“By so powerfully linking abortion to mental health problems, the Coleman study helps us comprehend the magnitude of the damage done to entire nations by reckless, permissive abortion policies,” Dr. Davenport concluded.
An abstract of the study titled “Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009” with links to the full text is available on the British Journal of Psychiatry website here.