Researchers discover link between abortion and mental illness.

003 The Daily Telegraph published a must read  article regarding research which was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

I have been saddened by the stories people have shared as they pour out their inner pain from having had an abortion. All to often they share how during the counselling process at the abortion clinic, they are told its a standard procedure with very few or little side effects. Yet this report shows that 10% of overall mental illness in women is caused by abortion…very telling!

There is also a debatable discussion that links abortion to breast cancer. Without wanting to enter into the debate at this point about the sanctity of life, issues of faith and pro choice – it does appear that that women, families and society are not being given enough information to make a informed choice regarding the risks involved in having an abortion.

On a pastoral note. If you suffer from guilt,  shame and regret from having had had an abortion – there is forgiveness and help to be had. (I do recognise that not all people who have had an abortion do so) Those I have ministered to have found it freeing to ask their deceased babies to forgive them,  ask God to forgive them and then accept that forgiveness for themselves. …sometimes a person has made a vow that they will never forgive themselves for doing such a thing…and its also freeing for this vow to be repented of and renounced.


About Craig Benno

I'm an average aussie guy who has lived perhaps a not so average life.
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9 Responses to Researchers discover link between abortion and mental illness.

  1. Rich Griese says:

    I am looking at the telegraph article and it says “Women who decide to have an abortion are putting themselves at no greater risk of mental health problems than if they carry on and have the baby, according to a review by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.”

    I might be missing something here, but you seem to be saying that the articles says abortion DOES increase mental illness, and the article itself says it DOESN’T. Are we looking at two different articles or studies?


    • Craig Benno says:

      Your looking at a different article. If you click on the photo you can read the full text. They did a detailed analysis of 877,000 women, of whom 163, 831 had abortions….

      Interesting that the article you linked to says…

      The review did find, however, that some groups appeared to be more prone to mental health problems after an abortion than others, including those who had undergone an abortion in the previous nine months.
      It concluded: “If women who have an abortion show a negative emotional reaction to the abortion, or are experiencing stressful life events, support and monitoring should be offered as they are more likely than others to develop a mental health problem.”

  2. tildeb says:

    No, Craig. Researchers didn’t find a causal link; Priscilla K. Coleman says this link exists and presumes causality. There is very legitimate criticism against her assertions that is based on attributing various statistical correlations to variables that have not been properly isolated in order to support causation. For example:

    “The statistical methods Coleman and her co-authors use have been criticized by the American Psychological Association (APA). A panel convened by the APA found that the studies by Coleman, and her co-authors have “inadequate or inappropriate” controls and don’t adequately control “for women’s mental health prior to the pregnancy and abortion.”

    Coleman, Cougle, Reardon and Rue have also been criticized by other researchers in the field. Psychologist Brenda Major published an article in the same issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal that contained Coleman’s “Psychiatric admissions of low-income women following abortion and childbirth”; this article, “Psychological implications of abortion—highly charged and rife with misleading research,” criticized Coleman’s study, saying that it did not distinguish correlation and cause, that the direction of causality could indeed be reversed, with psychiatric problems leading to a greater incidence of women having abortions, and that the study failed to control for factors such as relationship stability and education. Jillian Henderson, a professor of gynecology, and Katharine Miller wrote to the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, saying, “We believe that Cougle, et al., operate with strong political views regarding abortion, and unfortunately their biases appear to have resulted in serious methodological flaws in the analysis published in your journal. [Reardon, Coleman and Cougle] are involved in building a literature to be used in efforts to restrict access to abortion.” Nancy Russo, a psychology professor and abortion researcher, examined two of Coleman and Reardon’s articles, and found that when the methodological flaws in the studies were corrected, the supposed correlation between abortion and poor mental health disappeared.

    According to a 2010 review of the group’s analysis of the National Comorbidity Survey, an analysis which claimed that women who had abortions suffered from higher rates of depression and substance abuse, Coleman and her colleagues failed to control for pre-existing mental health problems and for other risk factors for mental health problems, such as sexual or physical violence. Julia Steinberg, one of the researchers, said, “We were unable to reproduce the most basic tabulations of Coleman and colleagues…Moreover, their findings were logically inconsistent with other published research — for example, they found higher rates of depression in the last month than other studies found during respondents’ entire lifetimes. This suggests that the results were substantially inflated.” Coleman responded that her analysis had used different methods and examined long-term psychological problems.”

    Let’s be careful not to jump to conclusions that pretends there is good evidence that having an abortion will increase your risk for metal illness. This kind of causal claim is not ‘research’ but attribution… usually for a religious purpose that is anti-choice.

    The breast cancer claim is just another in a long line of gross misrepresentations and outright lying that tries to manipulate women into believing what others want them to believe and not what’s true in reality.

    • Craig Benno says:

      Tildeb… would seem then that you are advocating women who are mentally ill have the right capacity of mind to make the decision to have an abortion….. Shouldn’t this mean we need tighter laws to protect the vulnerable?

      • tildeb says:

        This is the age old argument for me to take away your rights and freedoms in order to constrain your ability to choose and replace it with my dictates… for your own ‘good’ of course. It is an important step in the descent into tyranny.

        For example, I do a meta-analysis of studies that link religious adherence to a higher rate of domestic violence. I then proclaim that religious adherence causes domestic violence and then pretend it is reasonable that we need to pass laws to constrain people who are religious from living with others in the name of reducing domestic violence, for the ‘good’ of the religious of course. Should we allow such ‘violent’ people the same right to make the decision to have children?

        You see the problem? I have replaced what’s true in fact (there is a correlation between religious adherence and domestic violence) with my preferred belief (religious adherence causes domestic violence) and presented it as if true so that I can use the power of the state to impose my dictate (religion is bad and childhood indoctrination a sign of inadequate and abusive parenting) in the form of a regressive law (religious people shouldn’t be allowed to have children). I have advocated on behalf of tyranny to reduce your choices and rights and freedoms to serve my dictate but have hidden it behind a faux moral stance (to reduce domestic violence).

        I think it using poor judgement to attempt to limit the choice of fully franchised citizens on the basis of ‘protecting the vulnerable’. It is an ethical minefield to establish what rights and freedoms and choices the mentally ill with diminished capacities are able to exercise and this has nothing to do with the issue of abortion itself.

        As a medical procedure, abortion is an optional treatment between doctor and patient. As a patient, you may reject it entirely as an option for yourself and this is your right. You are autonomous. I respect that. But is the same respect for the autonomy of others upheld by you? Are you willing to allow others the same right to choose treatments that you exercise over your body with your doctor or do you advocate against others exercising this same choice if its treatment is different from the one you prefer? For that is what the anti-abortion position really is: anti-choice. It simply comes clothed in all kinds of disguises that tries to make the issue a moral rather than a medical one.

        Because most religions are predicated on its practitioners submitting to some kind of theocratic authority, the religious usually see no ethical dilemma forcing others to submit to their religion’s authority as they willingly do. But rather than allow religion itself to argue its own merits, the religious are experts at abusing public office to implement the tyranny of the state to enforce their religious preferences and either don’t see or don’t care why this abuse of authority is tyrannical when they themselves define such efforts to impose their preferences on others as pious.

        This is what you are attempting to do here. By cloaking the choice to have an abortion as an issue relating to mental illness, you are trying to use the state to impose your preference on others. But it is still advocating tyranny.

        As a may not impose your right to supersede my right to

      • tildeb says:

        Sorry. I failed to eliminate that last line before posting.

  3. Tildeb…you have missed the point. My point is that if someone has a mental illness, doesn’t society have a mandate to protect those mentally ill people from hurting themselves and causing themselves further harm?

    When I worked as a telephone crisis counsellor (for a non religious institution) nearly every shift I experienced someone ringing up with issues stemming from
    having had an abortion.

    Now- if those people were mentally ill before they had an abortion…society needs to ensure they are protected from making decisions that will affect them in the future….

    If indeed there is links to abortions causing mental illness (Which also the health department in Queensland have also found to be the case through their own studies. (Hence abortion being illegal there) Again there needs to be protection and further counselling for women, families in regards to the risks involved.

    Further more I personally know a number of people who were told as young children by their mother that they had tried to abort them and failed….. that news was extremely destructive for them…….. On another note…have you ever seen a video docu of an abortion taking place, via ultra sound…I have and its not a pretty sight to see the baby scream inside as its killed.

    Yes, society does have a right to protect the vulnerable…whether young or old.

    • tildeb says:

      Craig goes where angels fear to tread!

      Consider: what does it mean to protect people from making decisions? What does it mean to be mentally ill? Considering the answers to these two questions, how then do you ‘remove the right’ for someone to decide something… because they have a condition is the DSM IV? To what extent do we ‘allow’ a person with a diagnosed mental illness (versus ‘condition’) to make decisions? Does a person with a bi-polar condition get to decide or do we protect her from having sex? What if she is responding to treatment and lives a normal life? Do we protect her from making decisions before? After? And where exactly is the line? Do we shop for her? Do we decide pay for everything in her life so that she need never make a decision?

      Assuming we can arrive at specific conditions that must be met for the state to remove her right to decide her actions and we have established the meaning of specific terms so we know what we’re talking about, then we must figure out who exactly gets to decide. There must be some point where she goes from being able to make her own decisions (regardless of how poor we may consider them to be) to some other agent deciding on her behalf and we need to know exactly what this is.

      Do you see this can of worms you are opening up? You lump it all under some fuzzy notion of ‘protecting the vulnerable’ without full consideration of just what this means and how it operates and under whose definitions and authority. Here in Canada, about the only way to reduce an individual’s autonomy is either through conviction for a crime or demonstrable diminished capacity and in both case the changes are sleight and incremental with multiple layers of bureaucracy and professional determinations by doctors and lawyers and case workers and human rights advocates. Intervening to the stage where someone else decides who may and may not have sex is rarely reached. Every foray into this level of interference has resulted in massive law suits and precedence to not interfere. That you think this is somehow applicable to shoddy research that claims a causal link between abortion and mental illness is rather stretching one’s credulity.

      BTW, the Queensland law is a restriction on state-sponsored abortion is not related to the notion of mental illness caused by abortion, probably because there is zero evidence for this supposed causal link; instead, what we have is:

      “The McGuire ruling of 1986 declared abortion to be legal if necessary to preserve the woman from a serious danger to her life or health – beyond the normal dangers of pregnancy and childbirth – that would result if the pregnancy continued, and is not disproportionate to the danger being averted. Until 2008, abortion law in Queensland closely mirrored the law in Victoria. Abortions are carried out as “therapeutic miscarriages”, performed by specialists, upon request of the patient after an appointment with their local GP. This procedure is only applicable on pregnancies < 22 weeks and is partly covered by Medicare or more-so by private healthcare insurers. In addition to this, abortions can be performed if a fetal defect is considered to be "inconsistent with life" – this has been narrowly interpreted to mean that the newborn would die immediately or shortly after birth." Notice that nowhere is there any hint that abortion is restricted because if supposedly 'causes' mental illness. This is simply not true.

      How about we reduce the demand for abortion through public policy? What about a public policy that dramatically reduced the rate of teen pregnancies, reduced the rates of sexually transmitted diseases, and increased the age of people who have intercourse? Would you consider this a prudent public policy if there was one that unequivocally worked?

      Because there is….

  4. tildeb says:

    Update from the Guttmacher Institute


    Journal’s Editor Agrees that Priscilla Coleman’s Conclusions
    Are Not Supported By Her Analyses:

    “This is not a scholarly difference of opinion; their facts were flatly wrong. This was an abuse of the scientific process to reach conclusions that are not supported by the data,” says Julia Steinberg, an assistant professor in UCSF’s Department of Psychiatry. “The shifting explanations and misleading statements that they offered over the past two years served to mask their serious methodological errors.”

    Read the entire take down here.

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