American Psychological Association Ignores Abortion-Depression Link

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

American Psychological Association Ignores Abortion-Mental Health Problem Link

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 13
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — A panel of the American Psychological Association released a new report Wednesday that came to the conclusion skeptics predicted. The organization, which supports legalized abortion, claims abortion causes no mental health problems despite recent research proving otherwise.

The group’s conclusions aren’t a surprise given that pro-life advocates and a psychology professor both noted the organization stacked the panel with abortion advocates.

The panel’s report concluded women who have abortions may experience some grief and a sense of loss, but it claimed there is no evidence showing abortion causes significant mental health issues.

Brenda Major, chairwoman of the panel, released the official APA statement.

“The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective, first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy,” she wrote.

The report also claimed that many of the studies concerning abortion and its link to subsequent mental health issues are flawed.

However, those studies, including a recent one from researchers in Norway, are published in peer-reviewed medical journals and none of them appeared to receive complaints about their methodology at the time.

The Norwegian study, conducted by Dr. Willy Pedersen, was recently published in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health.

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."

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."

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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