Abortions may up risk of mental health issues

London: Women who undergo abortions are at greater risk of suffering from mental health problems compared with others, a new study has claimed.

The study, carried out by American academic Priscilla Coleman and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, also claimed that one in ten of all mental health problems was a result of abortion.

There is also a greater possibility that abortion may led to alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide, said the study, which is endorsed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

It adds to past research published by the journal three years ago which questioned the assumption of abortion campaigners that terminating a pregnancy reduces rather than increases the health risks to women, the Daily Mail reported.

The new research was based on an analysis of 22 separate projects which together analysed the experiences of 877,000 women, of whom 163,831 had had an abortion.

It found that abortion was linked with a 34 per cent greater chance of anxiety disorders, and 37 per cent higher possibility of depression, the Daily Mail reported.

Abortions was also linked with more than double, or 110 per cent, greater risk of alcohol abuse, a three times greater (220 per cent) risk of cannabis use, and 155 per cent greater risk of trying to commit suicide, the study claimed.

It said: "Results indicate quite consistently that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems subsequent to the procedure.

"Overall, the results revealed that women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81 per cent increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10 per cent of the incidence of mental health problems were shown to be directly attributable to abortion."

Prof Coleman has been the frequent target of pro-choice campaigners in the US for her insistence that abortion is linked to poor mental health.

Though critics have doubted her methods, they has so far been failed to damage her academic reputation, and publication in the peer-reviewed British journal is a signal that the psychiatric establishment is now taking seriously the possibility that abortion is a cause of anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide.

The new findings are certain to cause controversy at a time when the pro- and anti- abortion lobbies are in the midst of a vicious row.

But, Prof Coleman said there are in fact "some real risks associated with abortion that should be shared with women as they are counselled prior to an abortion".

The political heat over abortion means researchers should try to set aside their own beliefs, she added.

Her study was intended "to produce an unbiased analysis of the best available evidence addressing abortion as one risk factor among many others that may increase the likelihood of mental health problems".

Meanwhile, the new findings were seized by anti-abortion campaigners. Philippa Taylor, of the Christian Medical Foundation, said: "It is imperative that women are made aware of the real risks of developing mental health problems post-abortion.

"We welcome this rigorous, extensive and most timely research," she added.

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