by Steven Ertelt
January 3, 2006
Wellington, New Zealand (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life group in New Zealand says a new study showing abortion strongly increases the chance of women suffering from severe depression and anxiety should prompt changes in the nation’s abortion law.
Ken Orr of Right to Life of New Zealand says he’s not surprised by the study’s finding because other surveys for the last 30 years have shown abortion causes considerable mental health problems for women and leads to increased drug or alcohol abuse.
Orr says his group has requested studies in the past of New Zealand women only to be told by government officials it’s unnecessary.
Orr says he hopes the new study will prompt the government to pass a measure allowing women to be told of abortion risks before having one. Similar laws in the United States have been successful in helping many women avoid abortions and have reduced abortions by as much as 30 percent.
Professor David Fergusson, the lead author of the study, agreed and said it showed the need for more research into the physical and mental effects of abortion.
"What it shows is it is important to know the risks," Fergusson told The Press.
"A much more difficult issue in New Zealand is that abortion grounds are medical grounds, and the majority of women who seek abortions do so on mental health grounds. This (research) shows it might not do too much to encourage mental health," he explained.
New Zealand Family Planning Association medical adviser Christine Roke told The Press she was surprised by the findings and claimed her group would take them into account when talking to women considering an abortion.
"Certainly it’s something we need to be aware of. We do already talk about the possible complications, so this is another factor we will put into the equation to consider," she said.
The study found 42 percent of the women who had abortions had experienced major depression within the last four years. That’s almost double the rate of women who never became pregnant. The risk of anxiety disorders also doubled.
According to the study, women who have abortions were twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs.