Immediate Release 7/26/00
Women's Mental Health Declines After Abortion While
Two New Studies
Springfield, IL -- Women who undergo abortions are at greater risk for
mental health roblems in subsequent years, according to a new study presented
at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society (APS) held
this June in Miami Beach, Florida.
The study looked at California women who received state funded medical
care and who either had an abortion or gave birth in 1989. Researchers
examined the women's medical records for up to six years afterwards and
found that women who had undergone abortions had significantly higher mental
health claims than women who had given birth. Women who had abortions
were more than twice as likely to have two to nine treatments for mental
health as women who carried to term.
According to the authors, Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a psychology professor
at the University of the South and Dr .David Reardon, director of the Elliot
Institute, "the data presented in this report suggest that when compared
to birth, abortion is associated with a significantly greater risk for
psychological disturbance among low income women."
Reardon said that the study avoided many problems that have plagued
other post-abortion studies in the past, such as small sample sizes and
a limited time frame. "Most other studies have only followed women
for a few months at most," Reardon said. "However, the few long-term
studies that have been done shows that many women's problems don't start
cropping up until at least a year or so after the abortion, often when
they reach the expected due date of the child or the anniversary of the
abortion itself. By examining a larger period of time, this study
was able to get a broader look at the association between abortion and
subsequent mental health problems."
Yet another new study that presented at the APS conference by researchers
from the University at Albany in New York found that teens who had children
were as well or better adjusted than teens who did not have children.
Compared to their non-parenting peers, the teen moms in the study had fewer
mental disorders, reported less stress, were less likely than their peers
to engage in denial as a coping strategy, were less dependent on social
support and reported greater satisfaction with the support they did receive.
"These two studies clearly contradict the popular notion that abortion
benefits women in general and teens in particular," said Reardon. "Giving
birth to a child is a naturally maturing experience. By contrast,
abortion increases the risk of subsequent psychological problems, including
a six fold higher risk of substance abuse as reported in one of our previous
Coleman, P. K., & Reardon, D. (June, 2000). "State-funded abortions
vs. deliveries: A comparison of subsequent mental health claims over six
years." Poster presented at the American Psychological Society, 12th
Annual Convention, Miami, FL.
Hanna, D. R., Lowe K. A., Leslie F. H. (June, 2000) "Pregnancy, coping
strategies and stress: Are teenage mothers really more at-risk?"
Poster presented at the American Psychological Society, 12th Annual