Dubious Study Claiming Abortion No Risk for Women’s Mental Health (December 2011)

Dear Sir/Madam, The study purporting to show that women who have abortions do not suffer a higher risk of mental illness (Globe Life, Dec. 9, 2011) flies in the face of much recent research.  Just in September the British Journal of Psychiatry published a large meta-study that systematically contradicts the Kendall study referred to in your article.  It found that women who have abortions are 81 per cent more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems. The greatest increases were seen in relation to suicidal behaviors and substance abuse. Women with a history of abortion face higher rates of anxiety (34 per cent higher) and depression (37 per cent higher),  alcohol use (110 per cent higher), and  suicidal behavior (155 per cent higher). By contrast  women who delivered rather than aborting an unplanned pregnancy were significantly less likely to have mental health problems.   Women with a history of abortion were 55 per cent more likely to have mental health problems than women who did not abort an unplanned pregnancy. The study also estimated that up to 10 per cent of mental health problems among  all women might be attributable to abortion. These findings are borne out by Canadian research.  A study sponsored by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in 2001 discovered a five-times higher rate of hospitalization for psychiatric problems among women who had abortions within the previous three months than the control group.  The de Veber Institute for Bioethics in Toronto will shortly be publishing a study based on interviews with 106 women who  experienced one or more abortions.  Every one of the women expressed regret over the abortion and stated that she would advise other women faced with an unplanned pregnancy not to have an abortion. Yours sincerely, Ian Gentles, Research Director de Veber Institute for Bioethics  

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