Study Finds Women Who Have Abortions Experience Post-Traumatic Stress

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 13, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Study Finds Women Who Have Abortions Experience Post-Traumatic Stress Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 13,

Washington, DC ( — A new study published in the journal BMC Psychiatry finds that women who have abortions typically experience high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder. The findings mirror other research reports showing women are more likely to suffer mental health issues following abortions compared with keeping the baby.

The study appeared in the July 2007 issue of the professional psychological publication but it only coming to light now.

The research involved 155 women from South Africa who had abortions and were evaluated one month and three months afterwards.

Approximately 20 percent of the women had post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms just one month later. The results led the authors to note that "high rates of PTSD characterize women who have undergone voluntary pregnancy termination.

Looking at the women three months after the abortion, the number of women experiencing the PTSD symptoms increased 61 percent.

Dr. David Reardon, the head of the Elliot Institute and a post-abortion research who has been involved in more than a dozen studies documenting the psychological impact of abortion on women, notified of the new study.

"The abortion industry should not be subjecting women to a procedure that is likely to increase or cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress or other mental health problems," he said.

"Furthermore, the evidence shows that many of these abortions are unwanted and the result of pressure or coercion from others," Reardon added. "The industry should be held liable for putting women at risk and performing unwanted and dangerous abortions."

Reardon said the researchers also examined the effect of levels of pain and post-abortion psychological outcomes.

The study found women who had received a local anesthetic versus those who had received IV sedation had higher levels of pain and were more likely to experience PTSD symptoms in the short-term but there was no long-term difference.

According to Reardon that means the abortion itself is more likely to cause the PTSD issues rather than the kind of pain management given during the abortion process.

This isn’t the first study to show a link between abortion and post-traumatic stress disorders.

In a 2004 study published in the Medical Science Monitor, 65 percent of American women reported PTSD symptoms after an abortion and just over 14 percent reported all the symptoms necessary for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD.

Related web sites:
Elliot Institute – https://www.AfterAbortion.Info