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30% increase in mental illness in women who had abortion?

Mental illness risk ‘rises 30 per cent for women who have abortions’
By Rachel Ellis
Last updated at 2:45 PM on 30th November 2008 The Mail on Sunday


Risk: Women who have an abortion are three times more likely to develop drug or alcohol addiction, according to research
Women who have an abortion are three times more likely to develop a drug or alcohol addiction and 30 per cent more likely to have mental disorders compared with other women, research has revealed.
The evidence from two studies comes as the number of women having an abortion in England and Wales exceeded 200,000 for the first time last year.
More abortions – 57,000 – were carried out on women aged 20 to 24 than any other age group. However, there were 4,400 on the under-16s.
Anxiety and drug abuse are the most common mental problems after an abortion, according to a study of 500 women published today in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Professor David Fergusson, who led the research, said the findings had ‘important implications’ – because more than 90 per cent of British abortions were authorised on the grounds that keeping an unwanted baby would cause the mother mental health problems.
He said: ‘This evidence clearly poses a challenge to the use of psychiatric reasons to justify abortion. There is nothing in this study that would suggest that the termination of pregnancy was associated with lower risks of mental health problems than birth.
‘For some women, abortion is likely to be a stressful and traumatic life event which places them at a modestly increased risk of a range of common mental health problems.’

But his team at the University of Otago, New Zealand, said the overall effect of abortion on mental health was small. They estimate it is responsible for between 1.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent of disorders.
A second study shows that women who lose a baby by the age of 21 – either through an abortion or a miscarriage – are three times more likely to develop a drug or alcohol problem than others.
Researcher Kaeleen Dingle, of the University of Queensland, Australia, said: ‘Abortion and miscarriage are stressful life events that have been shown to lead to anxiety, sadness and grief and, for some women, serious depression and substance use disorders.’
The Royal College of Psychiatrists called the evidence ‘inconclusive’.
But pro-life campaigners claim it shows women should be warned of all the risks of abortion.
Josephine Quintavalle, of the Alive And Kicking Campaign, said: ‘If there is any risk to the woman’s mental health, she should be assessed by someone who is properly qualified and made aware of those risks.’
Ann Furedi, of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, admitted abortion could cause a huge amount of stress and anxiety but added: ‘Abortion does not necessarily cause the problem. It can be linked to other events in their life.’










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