Medical Research about the psychological aftermath of abortion.
Medical research in reputable, peer-reviewed publications about how women respond
emotionally after abortion is scarce. However, since 2002, several large, record-based,
studies have been published in this area.
Many medical journals provide abstracts online--those links are included below--but you
must pay a per-article fee or subscribe to the publication to access the full article. Some
journals don't even include abstracts. When that is the case, I include links to online
discussions or descriptions of the article in question.
There are over 100 studies confirming that abortion may lead to mental health issues.
See a few of the one's linked below for information regarding the topic.
Deaths Associated with Abortion and Childbirth: A Brief Summary with Attention to
Mental Health Issues, Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D.
Medical Abortion with Mifepristone (RU-486) Compared to Surgical Abortion. Martha
Shuping, M.D., Donna Harrison, M.D., Christopher Gacek, J.D.,Ph.D.
Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, Volume 66, 2004. Finding: Women who had
induced abortion reported significantly more avoidance of thoughts and feelings related
to the event than women who had a miscarriage.
Canadian Medical Association Journal, May 2003,168(10). Finding: Subsequent
psychiatric admissions are more common among low-income women who have an
Briefinduced abortion than among those who carry a pregnancy to term, both in the
short and longer term.
Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, 2003;58(1)67-69. Search under "abortion" after
you go to the journal homepage. Finding: Induced abortion increases the risks for both a
subsequent preterm delivery and mood disorders substantial enough to provoke attempts
British Medical Journal, Volume 324, 2002. Finding: Higher rates of clinical depression
in women after abortion.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 2002, Vol. 72, No. 1, 141–152. Finding: Women were
63 percent more likely to receive mental care within 90 days of an abortion compared
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2002; 43(6):743-757. Finding: 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.
Southern Medical Journal, 95(8), August 2002. Finding: Significantly higher rates of suicide
and accidental death after abortion.
Unwanted Results: The ethics of controversial research, is an important editorial opinion
published by the Canadian Medical Association in July 2003. It discusses what the stance
of the medical community should be toward studies that offend against some people's personal
or political biases.
The American Psychological Association is officially pro-choice. It has a Division 35 that
studies women's issues. Division 35 has collaborated with The Pro-Choice Forum to provide
an online outlet for their particular perspective on the emotional aftermath of abortion. After an
initial flurry of activity in 2002, little additional content has been added. Specifically, they have
not yet discussed or addressed the research I cited above. (I write to them occasionally to
remind them to do this.)
As you read over the links that go directly to medical journals, you'll usually find a box in
the upper right that lets you find other articles online that either cite the article in question
or are about a similar subject.
David Reardon of The Elliot Institute is always current on medical research in this area.
His website: Abortion Recovery International
includes a wealth of information. A monthly
e-newsletter is available from this source for regular updates.
Over 54 million unborn babies have been lost to abortion since 1973 (the year abortion was
legalized in the US).
Published in 2012, the most recent statistics show the CDC reported a total of 825,564 abortions
(self-reported data from central health agencies of 45 states). The Guttmacher Institute (Planned
Parenthood’s research arm) reported a total of 1,212,400 based on data from direct surveys