Why Think Abortion Good for Anyone?

Steven Mosher
By Joseph A. D'Agostino
Reproduced with Permission

Abortion destroys the psychological health of teenage girls. A large new study has statistics so dramatic on this point, even pro-lifers may have trouble believing them. The pro-abortion lead author of the study, Prof. David Fergusson of Christchurch School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Christchurch, New Zealand, told Australia's ABC news that abortion causes mental health problems, not the other way round, and women's backgrounds had nothing to do with it. "We were indeed surprised by the results," he said. "Our expectation was that we would find that young women who had abortions had higher rates, but that was due to selection factors, that is the background of young women predisposed them both to abortion and to mental health problems, and we found that that was not in fact the case. Abortion turns out to be the most common medical surgical procedure that young women actually encounter during adolescence and young adulthood."

This is the procedure constantly pushed on teen girls by our own government and feminist activists without their parents' knowledge or consent.

Fergusson and his two collaborators found that girls 15 to 18 who had not gotten pregnant had a 31.2% chance of experiencing major depression. Those who became pregnant at such a tender age but did not have an abortion had a 35.7% chance. But those who had an abortion had an astonishing 78.6% chance.

For anxiety, the statistics were similar. No pregnancy: 37.9%; pregnancy, no abortion: 35.7%; abortion: 64.3%.

And for ideas of suicide, a horrific mark of mental illness, the figures should be enough to convince anyone who cares about young women to desire a ban on abortion for minors. No pregnancy: 23%; pregnancy, no abortion: 25%; abortion: 50%.

These are enormous statistical differences. Women who had abortions at older ages had considerably increased risks for mental illness as well, though not as dramatic.

Something has been missing from Big Media's version of the abortion debate, and that is details of how abortion harms the women who have them. The near future of the pro-life movement lies in emphasizing the harmful effects of abortion on the mothers who toss their children into the wastebasket. Common physical consequences that have been scientifically documented range from infertility to breast cancer, but what about scientifically documented psychological consequences?

Given modern antiseptic techniques, antibiotics, and more advanced technologies, it's hard to see why any woman should take the risk of abortion. There was a time when childbearing was dangerous for women, but that time is past where basic medical services are present-which is everywhere in America (and in the parts of the world where they aren't, abortion is very dangerous). The demand for infants is so great, married couples must wait years to adopt them, and many find it so difficult that they seek to adopt children from overseas instead. Even severely handicapped babies have people willing to adopt them. Crisis pregnancy centers will provide all services for free. Why, then, mete out death when you can give life, even if your pregnancy is unwanted -- especially considering the joy you can give to an infertile couple eager to adopt?

Pro-abortion activists cite possible psychological harm to women if they give birth to an unwanted child, but the scientific evidence continues to pile up proving the opposite: Abortion is more psychologically harmful than carrying a child to term. Their arguments are based on ideology, not reality, and what common sense tells us--a mother will suffer spiritually from unnaturally ending the life growing within her -- has been confirmed. So who is abortion good for? It's not necessary to demonstrate that abortion is bad for unborn children. As Ronald Reagan said in 1980, "I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born."

In what may be the biggest study of its kind, Fergusson and his fellow scientists examined the psychological consequences of abortion for New Zealand women age 15 to 25. Reported the scientists, "Forty-one per cent of women had become pregnant on at least one occasion prior to age 25, with 14.6% having an abortion. Those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviours and substance use disorders. This association persisted after adjustment for confounding factors."

Depression, anxiety, and other negative effects occurred after the abortions, the researchers said. These are not cases of depressed, drug-addicted or otherwise disturbed women being more likely to abort their children; rather, the abortions preceded the disturbances.

An important aspect of this study is the care taken to avoid the pitfalls of earlier studies, some of which showed a link between abortion and negative psychological consequences, and some of which didn't. This new, large study used methods of sampling the female population, eliminating confounding factors, and other techniques to produce a more accurate analysis. It appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

"The press actually did a very good job and published stories of women who verified the study with their own personal experience," says Colleen Bayer of Family Life International-New Zealand. One such story, from Maria Parsons, appeared January 7: "She said she still cries every day for the unborn child she agreed to 'kill.' At a vulnerable stage in her life, she says, she naively opted for an abortion after an unplanned pregnancy in the dying stages of a relationship. 'It has destroyed the last part of my life. Inside, there is just a longing to hold the baby and to see that 13-year-old standing here. I wonder what she looks like. I can see those years in my mind like a photo album,' a sobbing Ms. Parsons told the Weekend Herald."

Ken Orr, spokesman for Right to Life New Zealand, wants women to know about this kind of research rather than have it disappear down a memory hole after a brief spate of publicity. "Our society is also lobbying the Abortion Supervisory Committee seeking to ensure that the results of this study are given to every woman seeking an abortion," he said. "That committee is appointed by and answerable to our parliament for the oversight of the administration of this country's abortion laws." Orr's group is already suing the government for not enforcing the country's abortion restrictions.

The New Zealand study isn't the only recent paper discussing the negative psychological effects of abortion. The pro-life Elliot Institute notes that in 2005, "two new studies we co-authored were published in journals of medicine or psychology. Their findings show that: Women who abort are three times more likely to report symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder compared to women with unintended pregnancies who deliver (Journal of Anxiety Disorders). Women with a history of induced abortion are three times more likely to use illegal drugs during a subsequent pregnancy (British Journal of Health Psychology)."

In its December 2005 report, the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, appointed by Gov. Mike Rounds (R.), cited an expert as saying that "the literature on the psychological effects of abortion conducted over the last several decades indicates that a minimum of 10-20% of women experience adverse, prolonged, post-abortion reactions. This translates into at least 130,000 to 260,000 new cases of serious mental health problems each year in the U.S."

So who is abortion good for?