New Study Links Abortion to Depression
Special Report - August 12, 2008
A recent peer-reviewed study published in the June 2008 Scandinavian Journal of Public Health finds a link between abortion and subsequent depression. The study, conducted by Dr. Willy Pedersen of the University of Oslo, monitored 5,768 women between the ages of 15 and 27. Questions were asked about abortion, childbirth, family relationships, and individual characteristics including schooling, occupational history, and conduct problems. Pedersen concluded that “young women who reported having had an abortion in their twenties were more likely to score above the cut-off point for depression.” Further, “women who terminate a pregnancy would probably benefit from post-abortion counseling.”
Although many similar studies have been considered scientifically weak because of poor design, this most recent study is considered “robust” because of the very high response rate. In addition, it contains validated measures of the key variables and controls for many other factors in the women’s lives that could affect both the decision to have an abortion and the likelihood of subsequent depression. Other prominent studies in Great Britain, New Zealand, and the United States have found between 30 and 42 percent of women who have abortions suffer subsequent depression or anxiety. Matt Lytle, director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council said, “thirty-five years after the legalization of abortion on demand in the United States, the devastating psychological consequences on a significant number of mothers who decide to abort is undeniable.”
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