Abortion Advocates Try to Disprove Study on Abortion-Mental Health Problems

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 13, 2010   |   7:16PM   |   Washington, DC

Two pro-abortion researchers are trying to disprove a study showing women who have abortions are more likely to  suffer from a variety of mental health problems than women who carry to term.

Published by Professor Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, the study showing women having abortions were at greater risk for anxiety as well as mood and substance abuse disorders.

Julia Steinberg of the University of California, San Francisco, and Lawrence Finer of the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion group that is a former affiliate of the Planned Parenthood abortion business, have set out to disprove Coleman’s findings.

They published their analysis in the journal Social Science & Medicine saying they failed to find the same links even taking similar factors into account.

“We were unable to reproduce the most basic tabulations of Coleman and colleagues,” Steinberg said. “Moreover, their findings were logically inconsistent with other published research — for example, they found higher rates of depression in the last month than other studies found during respondents’ entire lifetimes. This suggests that the results were substantially inflated.”

“Antiabortion activists have relied on questionable science in their efforts to push inclusion of the concept of ‘post-abortion syndrome’ in both clinical practice and law,” Finer added, according to a Washington Post report. “Our inability to replicate the findings of the Coleman study makes it clear that research claiming to find relationships between abortion and poor mental health indicators should be subjected to close scrutiny.”

LifeNews.com spoke with Coleman, who said the pro-abortion researchers used a different set of criteria to evaluate the abortion-mental health problem link.

“Despite their many claims to have conducted a ‘re-analysis’ of our study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Steinberg and Finer have conducted a very different set of analyses,” Coleman said.

“The critical distinction is in how the psychological disorders were defined,” she explained. “Our analyses reflected 12-month prevalence and their analyses reflected only the 30 day prevalence. Our results are quite similar to those reported by pro-choice researcher David Fergusson in 2006 and many others. There are additional differences between the two sets of analyses, most notably related to the choice of potential confounding variables and the methods used to control them in the analyses.”

Coleman notes the 30 published studies from the last five years coming from researchers and scientists worldwide.

“Are all these studies flawed too? The real story here is the lengths that biased researchers, professional organizations, and the media will go to hide and distort highly credible scientific data,” she said.

Coleman wants to know if Steinberg and Finer plan to “replicate” the 2010 study by Mota and colleagues published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry where the authors used the NCS Replication data and their results were quite consistent with Coleman’s.

“I find it hard to imagine that Steinberg and Finer believe a journal as reputable as the JPR — edited by Alan Schatzberg, M.D., president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association — would publish an article indicating that abortion poses psychological risks to women independent of other stressors without scrutinizing the methodology carefully,” she added.

For Dr. Coleman, the criticizing of the research she and others have done on the topic of abortion and its mental health consequences is a political one where abortion advocates critique the studies because they don’t like the results.

“These two authors have strong pro-choice ties. The first author is a recent recipient of the generous Charlotte Ellertson Social Science Fellowship and the second author is a long-time employee of the Guttmacher Institute. The conscientious reader will question their objectivity,” she concludes.

“These authors wrongly assumed we conducted our analyses in a particular manner and then made unprofessional, disparaging remarks, hoping I suppose to continue to hide the reality from women,” she says.

“We owe the millions of women who have had abortions in the past and will undergo them in the future a fair representation of the scientific research. After the highly biased American Psychological Association report was published two years ago, I conducted a meta-analysis or quantitative synthesis of the strongest studies. The results based on nearly a million respondents unequivocally indicate that abortion increases the risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide,” she adds.