an After abortion

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Friday, February 6, 2004

I occasionally get requests for information about the most recent peer-reviewed medical research about the psychiatric implications of abortion. When new research is published, I add a link on the left. When the article isn't archived online, the links go to available online descriptions and discussion of the pertinent research.

Here's a quick summary of the most recent research.

This May 2003 article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal concludes that women who had had an abortion had a significantly higher relative risk of psychiatric admission compared with women who had delivered for every time period examined.

A January 2002 British Medical Journal article indicates that "among married women, those who aborted were significantly more likely to be at high risk of clinical depression compared with those who delivered unintended pregnancies."

According to this article, "women were 63 percent more likely to receive mental care within 90 days of an abortion compared to delivery.  In addition, significantly higher rates of subsequent mental health treatment persisted over the entire four years of data examined.  Abortion was most strongly associated with subsequent treatments for neurotic depression, bipolar disorder, adjustment reactions, and schizophrenic disorders."

We see in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology from December 2002 that "compared with women who gave birth, women who had had an induced abortion were significantly more likely to use marijuana (odds ratio, 10.29; 95% CI, 3.47-30.56), various illicit drugs (odds ratio, 5.60; 95% CI, 2.39-13.10), and alcohol (odds ratio, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.31-3.76) during their next pregnancy."

A study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (June 2002) found that children whose mothers have a history of abortion tend to have less emotional support at home and more behavioral problems than children whose mothers have not had abortions.

An article in the August 2002 Southern Medical Journal shows a significantly higher mortality rate for the eight-year period following an abortion from all causes, including suicide, versus carrying an unintended pregnancy to term.

The Medical Science Monitor in September 2003 reports that "after controlling for several socio-demographic factors, women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion were 65% more likely to score in the 'high-risk' range for clinical depression than women whose first pregnancies resulted in a birth."

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