Although a new study claims women suffer few mental health problems in the aftermath of an abortion, women who have had abortions or work with those who have say the personal evidence significantly counters the study’s results.
Leaders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, the world’s largest network of individuals harmed by abortion, today slammed a new Danish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that purports to show that abortion does not increase the risk of subsequent mental health problems.
“Frankly, for the thousands of us who have stepped forward publicly and the many more who endure the pain of abortion privately, it’s outrageous to hear abortion apologists say that we don’t exist,” she said. “It’s as if the people who designed this report set it up to exclude women at the greatest risk to suffer post-abortion problems – those having repeat abortions or having abortions after thirteen weeks of pregnancy.”
Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has had two abortions herself and now has serious regrets about her decisions.
“I know from my own experience that the weight and trauma of your abortion may not hit you until long after it’s over. For this study to exclude the many women like me only tells me that it was not looking for the truth,” she told LifeNews.com.
The complaints about the new study come not just from those who have had abortions but from women who have counseled post-abortion women and have walked them through the grief process so they can find emotional and spiritual healing form the damage abortion has caused them and loved ones around them.
Dr. Theresa Burke, psychologist, author, and founder of the Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries for post-abortive women and men, said, “I’ve spent the last 25 years counseling women whose hearts and minds have been fractured by abortion.”
“For many women, the traumatic nature of their abortion is not fully released until some subsequent event triggers a fuller understanding of everything that has happened. Any study that pretends that to destroy one’s baby is normal and psychologically, emotionally and spiritually free of any negative consequences is rubbish,” she said.
Janet Morana of Silent No More has been a public spokeswoman for many women who have had abortions and want a voice about their negative experience.
“This so-called study doesn’t consider women who have emotional or mental health problems after an abortion, but who don’t check themselves into psychiatric hospitals or clinics,” she told LifeNews.com. “If you suffer depression because of your abortion, turn to drugs or alcohol, or have suicidal thoughts and don’t seek professional help, this study counts you as being just fine.”
Meanwhile, Melinda Delahoyde, the president of Care Net, a network of pregnancy centers designed to help women find abortion alternatives, knows something about the abortion experience because many of the centers provide post-abortion help and support for the large number of women who regret their abortions. Its centers post-abortion support to more than 23,000 individuals in 2009 alone.
“If it’s true that having an abortion has zero impact on mental health, then why do Care Net centers have tens of thousands of women and men knocking on their doors every year seeking help dealing with a past abortion?” Delahoyde said. “Women facing unexpected pregnancies deserve medically accurate information about abortion risks before making an important life decision about their pregnancy.”
Care Net’s Medical Consultant Dr. Sandy Christiansen agrees that research on abortion risks has become a political football. “There is sufficient data in the scientific literature to conclude that induced abortion substantially increases risk of anxiety, depression, substance use, suicide ideation, and suicide,” said Dr. Christiansen.
According to Dr. Priscilla Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, over the last two decades, hundreds of studies documenting abortion as a significant risk factor for mental health problems have been published in premier psychology and medical peer-reviewed journals. That includes 35 in just the last couple of years.
“Care Net stands in agreement with Dr. Coleman’s analysis that an unbiased assessment of the world’s literature clearly demonstrates the negative psychological impact of induced abortion and simultaneously negates the conclusions of the APA Task Force,” said Dr. Christiansen.