The latest published research on mental health risks of abortion has confirmed the findings of the majority of studies in this field, that abortion is directly correlated with an increase in mental health adverse events. The study by Bellieni and Buonocore affirm previous findings that whilst other pregnancy outcomes can increase a woman's risk of mental health harm, the risk of this increase after abortion is significantly higher.
The study was similar to that conducted by Dr Priscilla Coleman's meta-analysis in that it examined all published studies between 1995 and 2011, with the following findings:
Abortion versus childbirth:
- 13 studies found a greater risk in the abortion group
- 5 studies showed no risk in the abortion group
- 1 study found a greater risk in the childbirth group
Abortion versus unplanned pregnancy ending in delivery:
- 4 studies showed a higher risk of anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and substance abuse in the abortion group
- 2 studies showed no difference in risk
Abortion versus miscarriage:
- 3 studies found a higher risk of anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and substance abuse in the abortion group
- 2 studies found a higher short term risk in the miscarriage group, but higher long term risk in the abortion group
Whilst it is important to understand that women can experience adverse mental health issues whether their pregnancies are planned or unintended, whether they miscarry, give birth or have an abortion, the majority of studies demonstrate a significantly higher long term risk for women who abort.
This is particularly important when you consider that the majority of abortions (95%+) are undertaken on otherwise healthy women as an elective procedure and that there is no evidence of mental health or physical benefit from the procedure.
At the least, this information should form part of an informed consent process for women who need adequate time to consider the risks and all of their alternatives before making a decision. The reasons why this doesn't always happen will be addressed at our Abortion Symposium in October this year.