Writer-Counselor-Wellbeing Coach

Tag: abortion regret

Mental health risks

Latest research confirms links between abortion and increased mental health problems in women.

According to a new study published in the highly regarded British Journal of Psychiatry, women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems.   This study was a meta-analysis of 22 studies published between 1995 and 2009 involving almost 900,000 women across six countries.    Research which combines and examines the results of a number of other methodologically sound studies are far more reliable than any single study alone because of the wealth of data available.

The results of these combined studies reveal higher rates of anxiety related disorders (34%), depression (37%), alcohol use/abuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and higher rates of suicidal behaviour (155%).

When comparing women who had abortions with women who delivered after an unintended pregnancy, those having abortions had an overall increased risk of 55% for experiencing any mental health problem.

The study was carried out by Dr Priscilla Coleman, a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.  Dr Coleman is one of the foremost researchers in the field of abortion and mental health.

Of particular interest is the finding that almost 10% of the incidence of all mental health problems in the community has been shown to be directly attributable to abortion.   Given the millions of dollars expended on mental health initiatives in this country, this figure is very significant and of economic concern.

If the medical community apply the same evidence based approach to the provision of abortion services as any other medical or surgical service, this information should be incorporated into the practise of informed consent processes in order for women to make fully informed health care decisions.

Real Choices Australia believes that abortion is inherently harmful to women.  More than 94% of women considering abortion do so in the absence of real choice.   They also do so in the absence of full disclosure of all the potential negative outcomes.   Abortion is coercive when it is presented as the only option to a woman’s circumstances. Without real and adequate support to continue a pregnancy, there is no choice.

Coleman, P. (2011) Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009.   The British Journal of Psychiatry 199, 180-186.

Grief after Abortion

In February I spoke at an event in Sydney, Walking With Love, an educational symposium designed to increase awareness of the needs of women experiencing unintended pregnancy and those who have had an abortion. A week after this event I received an email from a woman who had attended and heard me speak. With her permission, I share her story here.

'It was only on Saturday that I even heard about your organisation. Until I went to the symposium I didn't know there was help out there for people with unexpected pregnancies. It is too late for me now and I suffering with guilt, shame and loss. I feel like a terrible person who does not deserve forgiveness. Before I did it, I rang a 'counselling' service. They didn't tell me about you, they only said I would have to wait weeks to get in to see a counsellor in Sydney. I went to another counsellor and they didn't suggest you either. They told me to got a doctor, which I did. His advice? To have an abortion, because the alcohol I had been drinking had probably damaged my baby and it would be my fault if I brought a child with a disability into this world. They didn't give me any other option.

You have to get the word out there to other people so they do not suffer they way I will suffer the rest of my life. I feel like I have lost all my happiness in life. I have lost myself. I am not whole anymore. I am missing a big piece of me.

Every day I have flashbacks to the clinic. I am depressed; I drink; I am jealous of other mothers. I cry a lot; some days I can't make myself go to work. I am so angry and in so much pain. People everywhere should be told that lots of women who have an abortion don't do it because they have a choice. They do it because they believe they don't have a choice.'

This writer offered some suggestions for change. These included;

  • It should be mandatory in schools to understand about the real consequences of sex and the repercussions of unexpected pregnancy.
  • Counsellors everywhere should have to tell people about the other options out there and the emotional consequences of having an abortion.
  • If just one person had said they would help me or there was somewhere I could get help, I wouldn't have done it (had the abortion). Everyone should have someone to help them.

I greatly admire the courage of this women in sharing her story with me and with you. It is only through such stories that we can begin to create change for all women and men and make the truth known.

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