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Abortion Harms Women

by Wendy Cloyd, assistant editor

A New Zealand researcher set out to prove that abortion does not
cause adverse mental-health problems, but he found the opposite.
Professor David Fergusson, a researcher at Christchurch School of
Medicine and Health Sciences in New Zealand, wanted to prove that
abortion doesn't have any psychological consequences. What he
found surprised him: Women who have had abortions are one-and-ahalf times more likely to suffer mental illness.
"When we did the research, I was very much convinced that abortion
didn't have any harmful effects," Fergusson told Family News in
Focus. "So, from a personal point of view, I would have rather seen
the results come out the other way but they didn't. And as a
scientist you have to report the facts, not what you'd like to report."
Now he says women should be alerted to that risk.
Fergusson, a self-proclaimed pro-choice scientist, said he thought
research concerning the effects of abortion on the mental health of
women was lacking.
"The whole topic has been remarkably under-researched," he told
The New Zealand Herald. "There's been a lot of debate about
whether abortion does or does not have harmful effects, but the
amount of research into the harms of abortion or its benefits for
that matter has been very limited."
So, Fergusson followed 500 women from birth to age 25.
"Those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental
health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors
and substance use disorders," reads the research published in the
Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology.
Forty-two percent of women who have had abortions experienced
major depression.

That's twice as high as to women who had never been pregnant and
35 percent higher than for those who had gotten pregnant and kept
the baby.
Fergusson lamented that many journals simply refused to publish the
"To provide a parallel to this situation, if we were to find evidence of
an adverse reaction to medication, we would be obliged ethically to
publish that fact," he said. "The fact is that abortions are the most
common medical procedures that young women face. It verges on
scandalous that a surgical procedure that is performed on over one in
10 women has been so poorly researched and evaluated, given the
debate about the psychological consequences of abortion."
While applauding Fergusson's research and his candor, Carrie
Gordon Earll, senior analyst for bioethics at Focus on the Family
Action, disagreed with his claim that little has been done to document
the consequences of abortion.
"The New Zealand study is just the latest in a series of studies that
document that abortion hurts women emotionally and psychologically,
as well as physically," she said.
A 2003 study published in the Medical Science Monitor showed that
women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion were 65 percent
more likely to be at risk for clinical depression than women who
chose to give birth.
A study in Norway, published in the journal BMC Medicine in 2005,
concluded that abortion caused more lingering mental anguish than
A 1996 Finnish study, published in the British Medical Journal, found
that "the suicide rate after an abortion was three times the general
suicide rate and six times that associated with birth."
The list goes on, Earll said.

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights

Institute, said the pro-abortion industry doesn't want to acknowledge
such research, because to do so would undermine its argument base.
"The abortion debate in America is maybe the most dishonest debate
that there is," he said. "Almost all of the arguments put forth by the
other side from the very beginning of the abortion debate to today
have turned out not to be true.
"They said that crime would go down if they had abortion; they said
poverty would be reduced if there was such a thing as abortion,"
Ruse said. "And they said abortion was not harmful to women all
not true."
Ruse said the pro-life movement is winning all those arguments
based on science, medicine and social science.
"Science is showing when life starts what we've always known
science is now confirming," he said. "Medicine is showing that unborn
children can actually be operated on, so very obviously it is a human
being. And social science is showing that abortion is harmful to
women, harmful to families and harmful to society."
Ruse added that with research revealing the dire consequences
facing women who choose abortion, the arguments used in the
landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are losing validity.
"The Roe decision did not consider the impact of abortion on women.
In fact, they said that it would have only a positive impact," he said.
"And so those assertions are being overturned by the social science
data which shows that abortion as a matter of fact is deeply
harmful to women."