American Psychiatric Association Continues Denying Abortion’s Mental Health Risks
by Steven Ertelt
August 24, 2009
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Ignoring both peer-reviewed studies showing such risks and the direct evidence of millions of women who suffer from an abortion they now regret, the American Psychiatric Association continued denying any abortion-adverse mental health risk at its annual convention.
The APA came under national condemnation in August for releasing a report claiming abortion causes no mental health issues for women. The report was criticized as ignoring evidence presented by some members.
APA members met in San Francisco, California at its recent annual meeting and heard from a past APA president, Nada Stotland.
Abortion does not cause psychiatric damage, but the claim that it does is a prime strategy of the anti-abortion movement, which has convinced many people in the US, Stotland said. So if it wasn’t a psychiatric issue before, it certainly is now, and we psychiatrists have an obligation to know about it."
Sotland’s comments ignore a study conducted last November featuring numerous controls and a national data set that found a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders.
The research team found induced abortions result in increased risks for a myriad of mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.
The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who didn’t have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women.
For 12 out of 15 of the mental health outcomes examined, a decision to have an abortion resulted in an elevated risk for women.
"Abortion was found to be related to an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems (panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, major depression with and without hierarchy), and substance abuse disorders after statistical controls were instituted for a wide range of personal, situational, and demographic variables," they wrote.
"Calculation of population attributable risks indicated that abortion was implicated in between 4.3% and 16.6% of the incidence of these disorders," they concluded.
Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, led the research team that conducted the study.
Together with Catherine Coyle of Edgewood College, researcher Martha Shuping and psychologist Dr. Vincent Rue, they published their results online today at the Journal of Psychiatric Research, a well-established and respected journal.
The researchers found women who had abortions, compared with those who didn’t had a 120% risk for alcohol abuse, with or without dependence, a 145% increased risk of alcohol dependence, 79% increased risk of drug abuse with or without dependence and a 126% increase in the risk of drug dependence.
For mood disorders, the experience of an abortion increased risk of developing bipolar disorder by 167%, major depression without hierarchy by 45% and major depression with hierarchy by 48%.
For anxiety disorders, there was a 111% increased risk for panic disorders, 44% increased risk for panic attacks, 59% increased risk for PTSD, 95% increased risk for agoraphobia with or without panic disorder and a 93% increased risk for agoraphobia without panic disorder.
There was no mental health outcome showing abortion to have decreased the risk or a high risk for women who did not have an abortion.
A second study conducted last year by researchers at Otago University in New Zealand found that women who had abortions had rates of mental health problems about 30% higher than other women. The conditions most associated with abortion included anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders.
Abortions increased the risk of severe depression and anxiety by one-third.
The authors concluded that anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 percent of all mental health disorders seen in New Zealand result from women having abortions.
A third study at the end of 2008 , from a team at the University of Queensland and published in the December issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, found women who have an abortion are three times more likely to experience a drug or alcohol problem during their lifetime.
The study showed that women who had experienced an abortion were at increased risk of illicit drug and alcohol use compared with women who had never been pregnant or who gave birth.
ACTION: Contact the American Psychiatric Association at [email protected] or 1-888-35-PSYCH and ask it to acknowledge that abortion hurts women.
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