Critic pans study claiming girls fare better from aborting than choosing life
HELSINKI, Finland, July 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A 25-year study claims that abortion is safer than childbirth, but a closer look finds flaws in both its assumptions and conclusions.
For the study entitled “Is Underage Abortion Associated with Adverse Outcomes in Early Adulthood?” that was published in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers analyzed data on 29,000 girls born in Finland in 1987 and monitored them for “adverse socioeconomic and health outcomes” until they turned 25 in 2012. Of those women, 1,435 became pregnant before they turned 18; 394 gave birth and 1,041 aborted their baby.
According to the results, the women who had an abortion got higher grades in school, and those who gave birth were more likely to become dependent on welfare.
The study authors conclude that girls who have an underage abortion fare better in life and imply that they have no negative effects from the abortion.
"Underage abortion was not found to be associated with mental health problems in early adulthood, and socioeconomic outcomes were better among those who experienced abortion compared with those who gave birth," the authors stated.
The study's abstract stated that the authors assumed "teenage motherhood has been linked with numerous adverse outcomes in later life, including low educational levels and poor physical and mental health."
“This is the result we were expecting,” study co-author Dr. Oskari Heikinheimo acknowledged. "Of course, it certainly makes a lot of sense ... young women who went on to continue the pregnancy and deliver, their overall level of education was then lower than women who chose to have an abortion."
Heikinheimo, a professor at the University of Helsinki, also said his study defends abortion against pro-life "misinformation." “I’m very glad about these results because there is a lot of misinformation about abortion” in American political discourse, he told Reuters. “Family planning services should be available for those who need them.”
The Charlotte Lozier Institute’s Dr. Michael New pointed out "some problems with the study," especially in its assumption of no health consequences from abortion.
"Some of the negative health consequences involved with obtaining an abortion occur in the long term," the professor at Ave Maria University told LifeSiteNews. "Research shows that teenagers seeking abortions are at a higher risk for breast cancer than women in their 20s and 30s who seek abortions. Even some of the studies cited by abortion advocates show that teen abortions increase the risk of breast cancer."
Additionally, New noted the study's conclusions were unrealistically premature. "Comparing the socioeconomic outcomes of 25-year-old women who raised a child to those who had an abortion is a poor comparison," he explained. "If a woman has decided to raise a child, it is more difficult for her to attend school or pursue full-time work. What is especially troubling is that the women are still relatively young (25) when the study was completed."
"A better comparison would be women to had abortions to women who decided to give up their child for adoption," New suggested.
Finally, New brought up the study's own finding about the physical health risks of abortion. "The study also finds that women who have abortions are more likely to sustain physical injuries," New told LifeSiteNews. "This finding is statistically significant. However, the media reports have not mentioned this finding."
While the study's authors assume young single mothers are poor because they gave birth, other sociological research has shown that teen moms are not poor because they have babies, but rather, they have babies because they’re poor.
The study's authors note that 30 percent of teen pregnancies are aborted in the United States, 43 percent in the United Kingdom, 59 percent in Finland, and 77 percent in Sweden.