New Study From Norway Substantiates Link Between Abortion and Depression

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 7, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Study From Norway Substantiates Link Between Abortion and Depression

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 7
, 2008

Oslo, Norway ( — New research from Norway substantiates previous studies showing a link between abortion and mental health problems such as depression. This new research, conducted by Dr. Willy Pedersen, was recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The authors make the link clear in the conclusion of the abstract: "Young adult women who undergo induced abortion may be at increased risk for subsequent depression."

They discuss the reasons for putting together the study and say they want to see if previous reports are accurate.

"International studies suggest an increased risk of adverse outcomes such as depression, but many studies are weakened by poor design," they said. "The aim of the study was to investigate whether induced abortion was a risk factor for subsequent depression."

The Norwegian researchers studied 5,768 women between the ages of 15 and 27 years and asked then questions concerning abortion and childbirth as well as family relationships and a number of individual characteristics, such as schooling and occupational history and conduct problems.

The results showed, "Young women who reported having had an abortion in their twenties were more likely to score above the cut-off point for depression."

"In light of this finding, women who terminate a pregnancy would probably benefit from post-abortion counseling," the authors wrote.

Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology at Grove City College, responded to the new study.

"This was a longitudinal study with very high response rates at all response times over the course of the effort (from 97% at time one to 82% at time four)," he said.

He said the American Psychological Association is planning to issue a new report on abortion’s link to mental health issues and he said APA officials should pay attention to this new report.

But he’s concerned about the politicized nature of the decision.

"Next week, the APA Mental Health and Abortion Task Force report is slated to be considered by the APA Council of Representatives," he said. "If that report adopts the findings of this and the New Zealand research reports noted in the Pedersen article, it would represent a departure from prior APA positions."

As the Norwegian researchers explained, other studies have shown serious mental health concerns for a high percentage of women having abortions.

A study earlier this month in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found 30 percent of women who purchase the abortion drug mifepristone on the Internet experience depression and negative feelings accompanying the abortion.

The most prominent study of abortion’s link to mental health issues comes from New Zealand.

The New Zealand study found that having an abortion as a young woman raises the risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Some 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.

David Fergusson, an abortion advocate 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 issues — rather than alleviating them as abortion advocates claim.

Meanwhile, researchers at Bowling Green State University in 2004 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.


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