by Steven Ertelt
October 9, 2006
Wellington, New Zealand (LifeNews.com) — After a study in New Zealand reported an association between abortion and subsequent mental health problems, many experts called for more research to further identify the emotional and psychological concerns women face. But a New Zealand women’s group opposed further study.
The study, published by the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, found that mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts, were more likely to occur among women who had an abortion than women who had never been pregnant or didn’t have an abortion.
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.
But the National Council of Women of New Zealand says more research isn’t necessary.
“There was a strong positive feeling about the issue at conference" the group’s president, Christine Low, told the Auckland Times.
Low said more members of her group would welcome a study if it included women who had abortions and those who didn’t, but the research report did include such women.
In an interview with the newspaper, Low admitted, “We have no idea if women do need more access to counseling or help. But if a large group of women do have a problem, or even a small group, then the research would be really beneficial."
Ann Brady, counseling coordinator at the Auckland Medical Aid Centre, told the Times the research would be helpful.
“It would be absolutely advantageous to everyone in the industry,” she says.
She indicated that a relatively small percentage of women receive post-abortion counseling and help.
One unnamed 22 year-old woman told the newspaper about her problems after her abortion experience.
“I was fine and happy immediately after the [abortion], but a month or two later I started to get nightmares,” she said.
She indicated staff at the facility where she got her abortion only casually referenced any mental health issues following an abortion.
“The nurses didn’t stress its importance," she said. “People grieve in different ways, but from experience, there should definitely be more follow-up care after abortions and counseling should definitely be encouraged for all women."
According to the New Zealand 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.
David Fergusson, who led the study, said the results show access to legal abortions is not necessarily good for women. He also said the study confirms abortions cause women mental health issue — rather than alleviating them as abortion advocates claim.
Low said her group make re-examine the issue again in the future and urge government officials to conduct more studies if its membership wants them.