For Immediate Release
New Study Links Abortion to
of Mental Health Disorders
Abortion More Traumatic Than Are Other Stressful Experiences
Springfield, IL (January 22, 2010) --
A new study has
found that poor counseling before abortion is more likely to be
followed by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other
The results from
an online survey of women and men who had been involved in a
past abortion, published in the journal Traumatology,
showed that inadequate counseling and disagreement between the
partners about having the abortion were predictors for
psychological and relationship problems.
inadequate counseling was liked to relationship problems,
psychological problems such as hyperarousal, intrusion or
avoidance behaviors; and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Men, on the other hand, were more likely to experience
experience relationship problems and symptoms of intrusion and
avoidance after inadequate pre-abortion counseling.
For both women
and men, disagreement about the abortion decision meant they
were more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD or to
experience some PTSD symptoms.
percent of the women and 43 percent of the men reported all the
symptoms for a clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress
disorder. Approximately 80 percent of women and 77 percent of
men had at least one symptom of PTSD, and nearly 80 percent of
women and 60 percent of men reported that the abortion
experience was highly or overwhelmingly stressful.
The authors noted
that the stress surrounding an unplanned or crisis pregnancy
tends to lead to psychological vulnerability.
strain and crisis and the lack of effectiveness of one's usual
coping mechanisms may result in anxiety and an inability to
function," they wrote. "... Thus, men and women facing a crisis
pregnancy may need considerable more counseling than is
currently being offered."
Don't Receive Adequate Counseling
survey of American and Russian women found that 84 percent
of American women reported that they didn't receive adequate
counseling before abortion, with 67 percent reporting that they
didn't receive any counseling before the abortion and more than
50 percent saying they felt rushed or uncertain about the
decision. Further, 64
percent said they felt pressured to abort and the same
percentage reported that they didn't feel supported by their
The same study
found that 65 percent of American women reported all the
symptoms necessary for a clinical diagnosis of PTSD, and that
they attributed their symptoms to abortion.
have reported that they want proper counseling before abortion.
One survey found that 95 percent of women said they wanted to be
informed of all the risks before undergoing an elective
procedure such as abortion.
much pre-abortion counseling—when
it is offered—gives women
and their partners or families deceptive or inadequate
information in order to reassure or sell them on abortion,
rather than helping them find the the best support and resources
The Need for
Legislation to Protect Women's Rights
Reardon, the director of the Elliot Institute, says that the
results of this latest survey point to a need for
proposed by the Stop Forced Abortions Alliance, which would hold abortion businesses liable for
failing to screen women for coercion or for known factors that
put them at risk for post-abortion psychological problems. This
legislation was recently
introduced in Missouri by state Rep. Cynthia Davis.
legislation, it is nearly impossible for women who suffer
psychological injuries from a coerced or unsafe abortion to hold
the abortionist liable for even gross negligence in regard to
pre-abortion screening and counseling," Reardon said.
will reduce abortion rates, especially among women being
pressured into unwanted abortions or unsafe abortions, and will
also reduce the rate of psychological illness associated with
abortion," he added. "But the only way to that goal is remove
the barriers which prevent women from holding abortionists
liable for negligent screening and counseling."
Learn more: To learn more about the Elliot Institute's
model legislation, continue reading the article below. More
information can also be found
Coyle, Priscilla Coleman and Vincent Rue, "Inadequate
Preabortion Counseling and Decision Conflict as Predictors of
Subsequent Relationship Difficulties and Psychological Stress in
Men and Men," Traumatology XX(X): 1-15 (2010).
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