British Psychologists: Abortions Cause Women Mental Health Problems

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 27, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Psychologists: Abortions Cause Women Mental Health Problems Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 27
, 2006

London, England ( — A leading group of psychologists and mental health professionals in England say that abortion causes women tremendous psychological and mental health problems. They are calling on the nation’s doctor’s group to revise its guidelines about what women considering an abortion are told.

They say that women need to be told of potential mental health risks like depression, suicide, and addictions to drugs or alcohol.

Their call came in a group letter to the editor published today in the London Times.

"Research published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in January has shown that even women without past mental health problems are at risk of psychological ill-effects after abortion," they say.

"Women who had had abortions had twice the level of mental health problems and three times the risk of major depressive illness as those who had given birth or never been pregnant," they say.

"This research has prompted the American Psychological Association to withdraw an official statement denying a link between abortion and psychological harm," the mental health leaders add.

The leading psychologists say that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Psychiatrists should tell women of the mental health risks an abortion poses.

"Since women having abortions can no longer be said to have a low risk of suffering from psychiatric conditions such as depression, doctors have a duty to advise about long-term adverse psychological consequences of abortion," they write.

The group of mental health specialists includes some of the top people in the field in Britain.

Andrew Sims, past president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Patricia Casey, a professor of Psychiatry at University College in Dublin, signed the letter. Psychologists in London, Surrey, West Midlands, Hexham, and Hampshire added their names as well.

Other health professionals who signed the letter include OBGYNs Robert Balfour, Tony Lewis, and Gordon Stirratt and two general practitioner doctors.

Their call backs up other research showing abortion causing women mental health problems.

A January study by Dr. David Fergusson, a New Zealand researcher who backs abortion, found 42 percent of 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.

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. The risk of anxiety disorders also doubled.

His research follows a survey by professors at Bowling Green State University in 2004 who 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.