Researcher: Abortion-Depression Study Should Prompt Fewer Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Researcher: Abortion-Depression Study Should Prompt Fewer Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 10, 2006

Springfield, IL ( — A prominent researcher into the adverse effects abortion has on women says a study highlighted last month showing abortion causes mental distress and a host of other problems for women should prompt abortion practitioners to reconsider performing abortions on some women.

Last month, reported on a New Zealand study showing abortion causes severe depression for women.

The research found that 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.

According to researcher Dr. David Reardon, the director of the Elliot Institute who has published more than a dozen studies investigating abortion’s impact on women, Fergusson’s study reinforces a growing body of literature showing that doctors in New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere face legal and ethical obligations to discourage or refuse contraindicated abortions.

He indicated New Zealand law allows abortions only when the pregnancy would endanger a woman’s mental health (among other factors) and doctors in England are only supposed to perform abortions when the risks of physical or psychological injury from allowing the pregnancy to continue are “greater than if the pregnancy was terminated.”

“Fergusson’s study underscores that fact that evidence-based medicine does not support the conjecture that abortion will protect women from ‘serious danger’ to their mental health," Reardon said.

“Instead, the best evidence indicates that abortion is more likely to increase the risk of mental health problems," he added.

"Physicians who ignore this study may no longer be able to argue that they are acting in good faith and may therefore be in violation of the law," Dr. Reardon explained.

He said the study furthers the obligation abortion practitioners have to tell women about the risks and dangers associated with an abortion.

“This New Zealand study, with its unsurpassed controls for possible alternative explanations, confirms the findings of several recent studies linking abortion to higher rates of psychiatric hospitalization. depression, generalized anxiety disorder, substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, poor bonding with and parenting of later children, and sleep disorders,” he said.

“It should inevitably lead to a change in the standard of care offered to women facing problem pregnancies," Reardon said.

By using known risk factors, the women who are at greatest risk of severe reactions to abortion could be easily identified, according to Reardon. If this were done, some women who are at highest risk of negative reactions might opt for childbirth instead of abortion.

In a recent article published in The Journal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy, Reardon identified approximately 35 studies that had identified statistically validated risk factors that most reliably predict which women are most likely to report negative reactions to an abortion.

The study is already having a profound political impact.

A Congressional subcommittee chaired by Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican, has asked the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to report on what efforts the NIH is undertaking to confirm or refute Fergusson’s findings.

Related web sites:
Elliot Institute –