Drug, Alcohol Abuse Higher Following Abortion, New Study Shows
by Steven Ertelt
June 22, 2004
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — Women who have abortions are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol a new study shows. Those who did not have abortions of a first unintended pregnancy were less likely to engage in substance abuse.
The new study, published in this month’s "American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse," found that women who had abortions were more likely to report, an average of four years later, more frequent and recent use of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine.
Researchers from the Elliot Institute and Bowling Green State University surveyed 749 women who had unintended pregnancies and 1,144 women who had never been pregnant.
Women who had abortions had higher drug and alcohol abuse rates than either women who did not have abortions or women who had never been pregnant. Those women who carried their children to term had the lowest rates of alcohol abuse, the researchers found.
David Reardon, Ph.D., the study’s lead author, suggests that giving birth, even to a child born from a mother who was not ready to become pregnant, may produce a "protective effect" for the baby because of the mother’s increased sense of responsibility.
The study’s authors say the higher substance abuse rates may result from "higher levels of anxiety, depression, and unresolved grief which have been measured in other studies of women with a history of abortion."
"It seems most likely that we are looking at a cluster of interrelated reactions, not a simplistic, isolated, cause and effect reaction," Reardon said.
According to Reardon, 21 previous medical studies also confirm the link between substance abuse and abortion and show increased rates for both consumption of alcohol and drug use for women who have abortions.
However, the Elliot-Bowling Green study is the first to compare women who had abortions with women who gave birth. That makes this study’s impact greater.
"According to this theory, factors related to unintended pregnancies, not abortion, may explain the link to substance use," Reardon explained. "These new findings however, show that a history of unintended pregnancy alone is not linked to higher rates of substance use. The link only appears when the unintended pregnancy is aborted."
Reardon says the data supports the belief of many women who have abortions that their substance abuse arose out of the overwhelmingly negative reaction to their abortion.
The data for the survey came from the respected National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from Ohio State University.
Related web sites:
Elliot Institute – https://www.afterabortion.info