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Landmark Study Provides More Evidence Abortion is a Mental Health Risk for Many, Confirms AUL’s Call for Informed Consent Laws

“The finding that 81 percent of women experienced a higher risk of mental health issues following an abortion should be enough for all sides of the life debate to agree that informed consent laws are needed in every state,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (09-08-11) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called a landmark study on the mental health effects of abortion “more evidence that American women must be given all the facts about abortion’s impact when they consider the procedure. Informed consent laws are desperately needed in every state to protect women from the very real, very negative results of abortion.”

Heading into the Labor Day holiday weekend, the British Journal of Psychiatry (BJP), a journal published by Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists released Coleman’s study entitled “Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009,” that critically reviewed the results of 22 previous studies on abortion and mental health published between 1995-2009.  These 22 studies included data on 877,181 women from six countries, 163,831 of whom had experienced an abortion.

The results revealed moderate to high increased risk of mental health problems after abortion.  Women with a history of abortion had an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems.  More specifically, the study found that women with a history of abortion had an increased risk of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37% higher), alcohol (110% higher), marijuana use (220% higher), and suicidal behavior (155% higher).

The new study is the work of Priscilla K. Coleman, a research psychologist and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University, and the author of numerous other peer-reviewed medical studies on the mental health impact of abortion.

“The results are troubling, and the findings support the testimony of many women about the terrible toll that abortion takes on the lives of the women who are given too little information about the procedure,” said Dr. Yoest. “This study also challenges the August 2008 Report of the American Psychological Association, which dismissed studies finding mental health problems after abortion. Women are paying too great a price to follow that flawed assessment.”

Informed consent is key. Dr. Coleman told the (London) Daily Telegraph, “There are in fact some real risks associated with abortion that should be shared with women as they are counseled prior to an abortion.”

To read the study, click here.

Priscilla, K. Coleman, , Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009, vol. 199 British Journal of Psychiatry p. 180 (2011)

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