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Study finds that women who have abortions are more likely to seek psychiatric help

Women who underwent abortions were almost three times more likely to seek psychiatric help for the first time in their lives during the nine months before and twelve months after the procedure, than women who gave birth.
Thu Jan 27, 2011 - 6:00 pm EST

January 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A new study financed by the pro-abortion Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation has found that women in Denmark who have abortions are far more likely to seek psychiatric help for the first time in their lives in the months surrounding their abortion than women who give birth.

The study, entitled “Induced First-Trimester Abortion and Risk of Mental Disorder” and published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined Danish medical records maintained by the government, which records incidents of abortions and psychiatric counseling among citizens. The study covers the years 1995-2007.

The authors found that women who underwent abortions were almost three times more likely to seek psychiatric help for the first time in their lives during the nine months before and twelve months after the procedure, than women who gave birth.

However, the authors did not regard the results as suggesting a causal relationship between abortion and mental illness.

The authors compared the number of women who sought psychiatric help in the months before and in the months after the abortion.  Because there was no statistically significant rise after the abortion, they concluded that the finding “does not support the hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders after a first-trimester induced abortion.”

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University and an expert in the link between abortion and mental illness, said in a critique of the study that it has “major problems.”

In a recent article, Coleman suggests that the rate of pre-abortion mental health problems was likely so high, compared to that of women who gave birth, “because many of the women were probably in the midst of abortion decision-making when they experienced their first psychiatric visit.”  However, she adds, the study’s authors instead conclude that “women who choose abortion will often experience mental health problems based on factors other than the procedure.”

Coleman points out that the data from the study itself “indicate that rates of mental health problems are significantly higher after abortion compared to after childbirth (15.2% vs. 6.7%) and compared to not having been pregnant (8.2%),” a fact played down by the authors in their assessment.

Numerous other studies reported by LifeSiteNews have found strong evidence for post-abortion psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and suicide.  Coleman observes that at least 30 studies have arrived at similar conclusions.

However, the Danish study’s authors criticize such studies, claiming that “most studies have failed to distinguish between mental health diagnoses such as depression and psychosis and feelings of sadness, loss, or regret, which, although unpleasant, do not necessarily signify a mental disorder.”


  abortion, mental health