Azara Blog: Abortion allegedly causes mental anguish

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Date published: 2005/12/12

The BBC says:

An abortion can cause five years of mental anguish, anxiety, guilt and even shame, a BMC Medicine study suggests.

University of Oslo researchers compared 40 women who had had a miscarriage with 80 who chose to have an abortion.

Miscarriage was associated with more mental distress in the six months after the loss of a baby - but abortion had a much longer lasting negative effect.

Pro-choice campaigners said there was no evidence abortion directly caused psychological trauma.

The researchers said their work underlined the importance of giving women information about the psychological effects of losing a baby - either through miscarriage or abortion.

The Oslo team found that, after 10 days, 47.5% of women who had miscarried suffered from some degree of mental distress compared with 30% of the abortion group.

The proportion of women who had a miscarriage suffering distress decreased during the study period, to 22.5% at six months and to just 2.6% at two years and five years.

But among the abortion group 25.7% were still experiencing distress after six months, and 20% at five years.

The researchers also said that women who had an abortion had to make an effort to avoid thinking about the event.

Well you have to take any report on abortion with a pinch of salt. First of all it is easy to confuse correlation and causation. For example, suppose poor women are more likely to have an abortion than rich women. Then since poor people on average have worse health (both physical and mental) you would not be very surprised to see women who had abortions having more psychological problems than normal. Secondly, the religious control freaks vocally (and often violently) oppose abortion and it would not be very surprising if that continual demonisation causes women who have abortions some pause for thought. Is this the fault of the abortion or the fault of the control freaks? Thirdly, women who have miscarriages are not constantly told it is their fault, but women who have abortions could obviously instead have had the child, so one could understand why some of them might feel guilty even independently of the pressure exerted by the control freaks. All in all, this is yet another "health" report which should just be ignored.

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