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"Scientific, Peer-reviewed Studies on the Psychological Impact of Abortion."
|Date published||15 May 2009|
|Link to Official Document||E/2010/NGO/59|
As the United Nations strives to achieve Millennium Development Goal #5 (MGD) (┐Improvement of Maternal Health┐), and, specifically, Target 5B (┐Universal Access to Reproductive Health by 2015┐), women deserve the unbiased consideration and inclusion of all peer-reviewed studies examining abortion┐s effect on women┐s health.
Scientific evidence shows that abortion is associated with a wide range of serious and lasting mental health problems.
A New Zealand study showed that women ┐having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors and substance use disorders.┐ The association between abortion and mental health problems ┐persisted after adjustment for confounding factors.┐ (Fergusson DM, et al. (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 47(1):16-24.)
A study using nationally representative U.S. data with statistical controls showed abortion was a risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, and numerous other psychiatric disorders (Coleman PK, et al. (2009). Induced abortion and anxiety, mood, and substance abuse disorders: Isolating the effects of abortion in the national co morbidity survey. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43(8)770-6.
Many studies link abortion and suicide. A study in Finland showed that women who had an abortion had six times the risk of death from suicide compared to women who carried to term (Gissler M, et al. (1996). Suicides after pregnancy in Finland: 1987-1994: register linkage study. British Medical Journal 313:1431-4). A study of more than 173,000 patient records showed an increased rate of suicide that persisted for the eight years studied, and was not explained by prior mental illness. (Reardon DC, et al. (2002). Deaths associated with pregnancy outcome: a record linkage study of low income women, Southern Medical Journal, 95(8):834-841.) There are reports of attempted or completed suicides coinciding with the anniversary date of the abortion or expected due date of the aborted child. (Tischler C. (1981) Adolescent suicide attempts following elective abortion. Pediatrics, 68(5):670-671).
A systematic review article showed that abortion was associated with increased risk of depression and attempts at suicide or self harm. (Thorp JM Jr., et al. (2003). Long-Term Physical and Psychological Health Consequences of Induced Abortion: Review of the Evidence. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, 58(1):67-79.)
A South African study revealed that 18% of abortion patients were diagnosed with PTSD three months after the procedure. (Suliman S, et al. (2007). Comparison of pain, cortisol levels, and psychological distress in women undergoing surgical termination of pregnancy under local anesthesia versus intravenous sedation. BMC Psychiatry, 7:24.
PTSD is a predictor of poor general health. (Lauterbach D, et al. (2005) The relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and self-reported health problems. Psychosomatic Medicine, Nov-Dec 67(6):939-47). Effects of trauma often last for many years. (Kessler RC, et al. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the National Co morbidity Survey. Archives General Psychiatry, 52(12):1048-60.)