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Women Need More Mental Health Treatment After Abortion, New Study Finds
Elliot Institute ^ | 8/20/02

Posted on 08/21/2002 12:36:01 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Springfield, IL -- Six months after her abortion, Jane had a mental breakdown. When she later delivered a healthy son, unresolved grief over her abortion contributed to severe post-partum psychosis. "I remember wanting to throw him out the window of the hospital room," she later told her therapist.

A study published in the most recent issue the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry reveals that both the early and delayed psychiatric episodes experienced by Jane are significant risks associated with abortion. By examining Medi-Cal records for 173,000 low-income California women, the research team compared the rate of psychiatric outpatient treatments for women who had abortions versus those who carried to term. To control for differences in prior psychological health, they excluded all women who had any psychiatric care for a year prior to their pregnancy outcome.

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.

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, the study's lead author, said that the study design was an improvement over previous studies because it relied on medical records rather than on surveys of women contacted at an abortion clinic.

"Most studies of mental health status after an abortion rely on small groups of women—usually less than 300—and face high drop out rates of 50 percent or more," said Coleman, a professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. "By looking at medical claims for a large group of women, we were able to capture a more accurate picture of the differences between abortion and childbirth."

Another of the study's authors, Dr. David Reardon, said, "Our results are likely to underestimate the true difference in psychological treatments because the information on obstetric histories was incomplete. Since many of the women classified as ‘childbirth only' actually had prior abortions which we did not know about, this would most likely dilute our findings."

Last January, another study by Reardon, the director of the Springfield, IL based Elliot Institute, was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal. Examining a large national sample of women, it revealed that women who abort are at higher risk of severe clinical depression than women who carried unintended pregnancies to term.

Reardon is the co-author with Dr. Theresa Burke of a new book, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion in which Jane's experience, summarized above, is included as part of a comprehensive review of post-abortion reactions. (See www.forbiddengrief.com). Forbidden Grief was recently highlighted as the book of the week selection by radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

Reardon believes the results these recent studies underscore a key message of Forbidden Grief: "We need to expand outreach and referrals into post-abortion counseling programs. There are many women who have great difficulty coping with the emotional stress following an abortion. Without help, and especially the understanding of loved ones, they will be more vulnerable to self-destructive behavior and other psychological disorders."

Public interest in the health effects of abortion was last raised in 1989 Surgeon General Koop reviewed the research on abortion at the request of President Reagan. Koop concluded that all the studies done up to that point was so methodologically flawed that no firm conclusions could be drawn about abortion's risks or benefits.

In a letter to the outgoing president, Koop recommended that a major federally funded longitudinal study of abortions health risks was the only way to secure definitive answers. His proposal for a major study died in the Democratically controlled congress, however, when abortion advocates argued that the appeal for such research was politically motivated and a waste of tax payer dollars.

Reardon hopes the results of recent studies will rekindle the effort to make the investigation of abortion's health effects a priority of the government's National Institutes of Health. "The government has ignored this problem for decades," Reardon says, "largely at the behest of population control groups which are more concerned about protecting abortion than protecting women. I believe women deserve better. They deserve to know the true relative risk associated with abortion. If the government had acted on Koop's recommendation, we would have had definitive answers by now."

Even without a definitive longitudinal study, the research published since 1989 has consistently revealed that women who abort are at higher risk of subsequent substance abuse, suicide, depression, and mental illnesses. During the time that knowledge of abortion's risks has grown, Reardon says, not a single study comparing abortion to delivery of an unintended child has shown that abortion is associated with better mental or physical health. These facts lead Reardon to insist that, "While abortion may still be defended on political grounds, it can no longer be defended on medical grounds."

Citation to study: Coleman PK, Reardon DC, Rue VM, Cougle JR. "State-funded abortions vs. deliveries: A comparison of outpatient mental health claims over five years." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2002, Vol. 72, No. 1, 141–152.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: abortion; health; medicine; prolife; psychology

1 posted on 08/21/2002 12:36:01 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Well, DUH!!!!!

The Russians knew about this in the 30's.
2 posted on 08/21/2002 12:37:10 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona
Hmmm, I didn't hear about that, please elaborate. (and Russia was such a caring, sensitive place in the 30's)
3 posted on 08/21/2002 12:44:19 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Solution? Don't have an abortion. Wow, problem solved.
4 posted on 08/21/2002 12:54:10 PM PDT by GodsLittleOne
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To: nickcarraway
It's been a long time ago, now, but in a former life I was an archives assistant in a MAJOR medical school. We had a collection of ephemeral work from the 20th century, all parts of it, which I indexed. Every now and then, I'd actually read the pamphlet if the subject was of interest to me. I specifically remember a pamphlet article refering to the problem of "Psychick" in relation to women killing their unborn children in Moscow. The date on the pamphlet, if memory serves, was 1930. There were no details other than refering to it as a "problem". There was a picture of the outside of a clinic. I can remember being disturbed reading it. Being about the only pro-lifer in the library, it was hard to keep my mouth shut, too. It seemed that the whole subject was just brushed aside, like these women shouldn't have feelings.

I don't remember ever really pursuing the topic later. Once, though, in the stacks I came across something called the Journal of Eugenics. Scary stuff in there. I'm pretty sure Margaret Sanger was an editor. I doubt she had any feelings.
5 posted on 08/21/2002 12:58:51 PM PDT by Desdemona
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway
Public interest in the health effects of abortion was last raised in 1989 Surgeon General Koop reviewed the research on abortion at the request of President Reagan. Koop concluded that all the studies done up to that point was so methodologically flawed that no firm conclusions could be drawn about abortion's risks or benefits.

In a letter to the outgoing president, Koop recommended that a major federally funded longitudinal study of abortions health risks was the only way to secure definitive answers. His proposal for a major study died in the Democratically controlled congress, however, when abortion advocates argued that the appeal for such research was politically motivated and a waste of tax payer dollars.

Koop is right; a study like this isn't very meaningful. Women who have abortions are far more likely to have all sorts of problems in their lives. Excluding women with prior psychiatric care helps, but only a little.

Even a detailed study like Koop is suggesting has limited value. Women who get abortions may be fundamentally different than women who don't, in ways that can't be captured by any metric. Proof of causation - abortion causes poor mental health - will always be tenuous.

Of course, in our "smoking is dumb" PR society, maybe the stigma of being cukoo will work better than the stigma of murderous selfishness.

7 posted on 08/21/2002 1:04:24 PM PDT by monkey
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To: one_particular_harbour
Good point, also, what kind of sample is 183,000 welfare leaches?
9 posted on 08/21/2002 1:07:45 PM PDT by luckodeirish
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To: monkey
Troubled women undoubtedly seek abortion. But troubled women are still human beings, not just to be written off. If abortion makes troubled women even more troubled, isn't that something valuable to know? I read this study to mean that whatever shape the women were in before the abortion, they were worse afterward.
10 posted on 08/21/2002 1:10:22 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Desdemona
Interesting. Thanks for sharing. It seems like you came across a lot of interesting info.
11 posted on 08/21/2002 1:11:12 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
Having an Abortion is a very traumatic experience.
Regardless of what pro abortion advocates tell you, deep down you know your killing a defenseless human being.
Sometimes guilt is a good thing IMHO
12 posted on 08/21/2002 1:12:48 PM PDT by HEY4QDEMS
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: one_particular_harbour
Yes, Koop tried to get a study done with better methodology, but his attempts to get it were frustrated. The ``pro-choicers'' are the ones who frustrated it. I hope someday we can get a study with better methodology, but I know it's unlikely any time soon.
14 posted on 08/21/2002 1:18:55 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: GodsLittleOne
re: Post #4

Agreed. No justifiable excuse for killing innocent babies. No justifiable excuse for sin.
15 posted on 08/21/2002 1:22:08 PM PDT by Lilly
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To: nickcarraway
I wouldn't be surprised. Having some religious wacko screaming "Murderer! Murderer!" in your face is bound to unsettle anyone.

Live births remain 8 times more deadly than abortions, however. And even live births result in post-partum depression, etc.

So women face the choice of a 63% greater risk of depression if they abort versus an 800% greater risk of dying in child birth if they go to term.

Life is full of choices. Be pro-choice.
16 posted on 08/21/2002 1:22:47 PM PDT by jlogajan
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To: nickcarraway
If abortion makes troubled women even more troubled, isn't that something valuable to know?

Certainly. My comment concerned only study methodology. Would this cohort of troubled women (the ones who seek abortions) be more, less, or as troubled if they carried to term? The study can't tell us.

I also get a little concerned about whether some of the approaches to "life issues" - such as abortion leads to cancer, or ASCs are more efficacious than ESCs, or this study - are really the way to go. I don't think there's adequate scientific evidence to support such arguments, and there is an underlying concession to pragmatism over principle.

17 posted on 08/21/2002 1:22:52 PM PDT by monkey
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To: Polycarp
Ping
18 posted on 08/21/2002 1:25:03 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: dighton; aculeus; general_re
A study published in the most recent issue the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

"Since 1930, the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry has been the leading interdisciplinary journal in the mental health field. AJO offers a rich scholarly mix of clinical, research, theoretical, and policy-oriented articles on issues affecting individuals and families across the life span-all serving to inform professional practice and public policy from a multidisciplinary perspective."

Brain is cramping. Help. Or just shoot me now.

19 posted on 08/21/2002 1:32:44 PM PDT by Orual
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To: jlogajan
How about being pro-informed-choice? The Democrats fought GW on pre-natal funding for poor women because it offered them the option of a sonogram prior to making a choice (guess seeing fingers and toes moving altered their thinking)...guess Planned Parenthood was worried about its bottom line...

no dead fetuses:no money::no money:no power.

20 posted on 08/21/2002 1:35:21 PM PDT by foreshadowed at waco
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To: jlogajan
Interesting statistics..where did you get those? What about these? Risks of Abortion vs Childbirth
21 posted on 08/21/2002 1:36:10 PM PDT by American72
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To: one_particular_harbour
I'm curious as to whether this study factored in the question that people who are more troubled tend to seek out abortion services in the first place.

That occured to me, too. Much like the drug question. Do people who take drugs become no-account because of the drugs or do they take drugs because they're no-account.

It does appear that if these women got abortions because they were troubled, the abortion sure didn't seem to help. And there remains the question that, should they have had the child would they have straightened up?

I'm as against wholesale abortion as anybody, but this could be a case of correlation instead of causation.

22 posted on 08/21/2002 1:37:37 PM PDT by William Terrell
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To: jlogajan
It's a CHILD not a choice...
23 posted on 08/21/2002 1:38:41 PM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton
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To: jlogajan
"Live births remain 8 times more deadly than abortions, however."

Your source for this number?

24 posted on 08/21/2002 1:40:08 PM PDT by babygene
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To: jlogajan
Live births remain 8 times more deadly than abortions, however

That's simply not true. Especially in this country, where abortion is much less safe than say, Canada. In California, they are trying to pass a bill that will allow abortions to be performed by nondoctors.

25 posted on 08/21/2002 1:41:53 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: one_particular_harbour
I'm curious as to whether this study factored in the question that people who are more troubled tend to seek out abortion services in the first place.

Certainly having the desire to have your own offspring dismembered is not exactly the thought process of a stable person.

SD

26 posted on 08/21/2002 1:43:10 PM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: nickcarraway
By examining Medi-Cal records for 173,000 low-income California women, the research team compared the rate of psychiatric outpatient treatments for women who had abortions versus those who carried to term. To control for differences in prior psychological health, they excluded all women who had any psychiatric care for a year prior to their pregnancy outcome.

What a no-brainer. I'd also like to see the statistics on women who never got pregnant at all. You'd need that really to pin it down.

27 posted on 08/21/2002 1:49:13 PM PDT by Salman
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To: nickcarraway
"Women Need More Mental Health Treatment After Abortion, New Study Finds"

The key word here is "more."

28 posted on 08/21/2002 1:51:59 PM PDT by Destructor
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To: jlogajan
Live births remain 8 times more deadly than abortions, however

Abortions are 100% deadly to little babies. Well, except for the ones that survive and then are left to die in a pan. Or are born without part of their brain or missing an arm. But I guess that doesn't bother you any. As long as "people are allowed to make choices".

29 posted on 08/21/2002 1:56:16 PM PDT by Charlie OK
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To: nickcarraway
Ask Shelley Winters. She's still hurting . . . after all these years.
30 posted on 08/21/2002 1:59:54 PM PDT by Saundra Duffy
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To: Charlie OK
You beat me to it, but I would like to reiterate:

Abortion is 100% deadly by definition. Period, end of story....

31 posted on 08/21/2002 2:03:55 PM PDT by rightwingreligiousfanatic
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To: Saundra Duffy
Has Shelley Winters talked about that? I didn't hear?
32 posted on 08/21/2002 2:05:37 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Saundra Duffy
could you elaborate on that? I don't know that story...
33 posted on 08/21/2002 2:27:15 PM PDT by Charlie OK
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To: Desdemona
Margaret Sanger was a eugenisist and a racist, but she was opposed to abortion. She thought it was barbaric (for the woman), which of course it is.

She did advocate eugenics, but by contraception not abortion. This is something that Planned Parenthood et. all does not want known about their heiroine.
34 posted on 08/21/2002 4:40:06 PM PDT by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne
This is something that Planned Parenthood et. all does not want known about their heiroine. Margaret Sanger is not just thier "heroine", she founded the organization.

How about this? Susan B. Anthony on abortion.

35 posted on 08/21/2002 4:53:28 PM PDT by Salman
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To: Salman
Yes she founded their organization, but she was opposed to abortion. I'm not defending her, from what I've read she was a 1st class racist. But she did not advocate abortion.

Thanks for the link. I know about S. Anthony. Virtually all of the early feminists were opposed to abortion.
36 posted on 08/21/2002 6:33:00 PM PDT by Lorianne
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To: Salman
Yes she founded their organization, but she was opposed to abortion. I'm not defending her, from what I've read she was a 1st class racist. But she did not advocate abortion.

Thanks for the link. I know about S. Anthony. Virtually all of the early feminists were opposed to abortion.
37 posted on 08/21/2002 6:33:20 PM PDT by Lorianne
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