New Study Claims Abortion Reduces Depression, Others Disagree

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Study Claims Abortion Reduces Depression, Others Disagree Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 28, 2005

Tempe, AZ ( — A new study by researchers at Arizona State University claims women with unplanned pregnancies who have abortions are less likely to suffer from depression than those who carry the pregnancy to term. The study flies in the face of others that show opposite results and women who say abortion caused them tremendous grief and guilt.

Nancy Russo and Sarah Schmiege from Arizona State University’s department of psychology questioned 1,247 women who had an abortion or delivered a first pregnancy between 1970 and 1992. The women were interviewed over several years.

"We conclude that, under present conditions of legal access to abortion, there is no credible evidence that choosing to terminate an unwanted first pregnancy puts women at higher risk of subsequent depression than does choosing to deliver an unwanted first pregnancy," the authors claim.

But researchers at Bowling Green State University last year examined data on nearly 11,000 women between the ages of 15 and 34 who had experienced an unintended pregnancy.

Their survey found that women who have abortions of unexpected pregnancies were 30 percent more likely to experience subsequent problems with anxiety than those who don’t have one.

Women in the study who had abortions and suffered from general anxiety disorder experienced irritability, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, a pounding or racing heart, or feelings of unreality.

According to the Elliot Institute, that November 2004 study follows on the heels of nearly a dozen other surveys published in the last three years linking abortion to increased risk of depression, substance abuse, suicidal behavior, and death from heart disease.

Meanwhile, in their attempt to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, attorneys for Norma McCorvey submitted 5,347 pages of affidavits from thousands of women who say they regret their abortions. Many pointed to severe depression as a result of their decision.

"It’s been 14 years since my last abortion and it has been a week and a half since my last nightmare," Caron Strong of Brentwood, Tennessee, says.

Strong said she was upset that no one told her that the four abortions she had would cause her emotional torment and later result in miscarriages of subsequent pregnancies.

Amy Young of Sterling, Virginia, said it took her 17 years to realize that the cause of the anger and bitterness in her life was due to a past abortion.

"I still cry; I still hurt," she said.

Meanwhile, Alveda King, the niece of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said the "guilt made me ill" following her abortion.

Other women who spoke said they experienced physical pain, hemorrhaging, nightmares, depression and severe emotional problems.

"The aftermath of abortion is horrendous," said Joyce Zounis. "I was told it would be over ‘real quick’ – it lasted 27 years."

The new Arizona State University study appears in a recent publication of the British Medical Journal.