Women's mental health and abortion

If a medical procedure increases the risk of the patient to commit suicide or become a substance abuser, shouldn't that procedure be severely restricted to the most dire circumstances?

Abortion is that procedure. Here are some facts.

A "pro-choice" research team in New Zealand, analyzing data from a 25-year period and controlling for multiple factors both pre- and post-abortion, found conclusively that abortion in young women is associated with increased risks of major depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal behaviors, and substance dependence.[10] This is the most comprehensive, long-term study ever conducted on the issue.

Other studies also conclude that there is substantial evidence of a causal association between induced abortion and both substance abuse and suicide.[11]

A review of over 100 long-term international studies concluded that induced abortion increases risks for mood disorders enough to provoke attempts at self harm.[12] Researchers have also identified a pattern of psychological problems, known collectively as Post- Abortion Syndrome, in which women may experience depression, anxiety, anger, flashbacks, guilt, grief, denial, and relationship problems. Post-Abortion Syndrome has been identified in research as a subset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.[13]

Further, studies analyzing the effects of induced abortion in adolescents have shown that those who abort reported more frequent problems sleeping, more frequent marijuana use, and an increased need for psychological counseling, when compared to adolescents who give birth.[14]

Moira Gaul is director of women's and reproductive health at the Family Research Council. She has a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in maternal and child health.

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