Abortion during the late teen and early adult years raises a woman’s risk of mental health problems and may be linked to almost one in ten cases of these women’s mental disorders, a new study says.
“Evidence from the United States confirms previous findings from Norway and New Zealand that, unlike other pregnancy outcomes, abortion is consistently associated with a moderate increase in risk of mental health disorders during late adolescence and early adulthood,” said the study’s abstract.
The study, conducted by sociology professor Donald Paul Sullins of The Catholic University of America, was published July 22, 2016 in the peer-reviewed Sage Open Medicine journal.
After adjusting for demographic differences and other factors, the study found that abortion during these years elevated a woman’s risk of mental health disorder by 45 percent.
“One-eleventh of the prevalence of mental disorders examined over the period were attributable to abortion,” the study’s abstract said.
The study sought to examine any links between pregnancy outcomes like birth, abortion or miscarriage and mental health outcomes for U.S. women during the transition to adulthood. It drew on a national study of 8,005 women that surveyed them three times at average ages of 15, 22 and 28.
Involuntary pregnancy loss was associated with a 24 percent elevated risk of mental disorder, while childbirth was “weakly associated” with reduced risk of mental disorder.
Students for Life of America said the study showed the need for better data about the risks of abortion.
“Abortion activists have repeatedly denounced attempts to link abortion with any adverse events,” the group said Aug. 23. “In medical schools across the country, students are taught that there are no long-term consequences of abortion, and that abortion is a safe procedure. However, these statements are misleading at best.”
Students for Life said that each state sets its own reporting laws. States like California do not require any reporting of abortion statistics. Reported statistics may be unreliable, given that pro-abortion research organizations like the Guttmacher Institute consistently report abortion rates as much as 30 percent higher than Centers for Disease Control reports.
Only 16 states require reporting on abortion complications, and only eight publish abortion complications in their public abortion reports. Four states inquire about maternal mortality after abortion, while only one state asks about follow-up care to women who have had abortions.