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Abortion raises risk of mental health problems by 81%

Published: 1st September 2011

In the largest study of its kind researchers have concluded that women having abortions experience an 81% increased risk of mental health problems.

Published in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry, it also found almost 10% of all mental health problems in women are shown to be directly linked to abortion.

Separate effects were calculated based on the type of mental health outcome with the results revealing the following: the increased risk for anxiety disorders was 34%; for depression it was 37%; for alcohol use/abuse it was 110%, for marijuana use/abuse it was 220%, and for suicide behaviours it was 155%.

This new meta-analysis, conducted by Priscilla K. Coleman from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA, is based on 22 published studies. Only the strongest studies were included, with a combined number of participants totalling over 850,000.

On Tuesday 6th September MPs in the House of Commons are set to vote on an amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill 2011. Tabled by MPs Nadine Dorries and Frank Field it seeks to change the law to ensure women seeking abortion are offered independent advice on their decision to seek a termination.

Philippa Taylor, CMF's Head of Public Policy, says:
'As MPs prepare to vote on introducing independent counselling for women considering abortion, it's imperative women are made aware of the real risks of developing mental health problems post-abortion. The Christian Medical Fellowship welcomes this rigorous, extensive and most timely research.'

For further information:

For broadcasting bids and media enquiries, contact Media Intelligence Partners:Alistair Thompson - 07970 162225 or 0203 008 8145
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 07770 842524

Media Enquiries: CMF Office on 020 7234 9675 / 07850 083414

Notes

  • The study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry is titled: Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009 Priscilla K. Coleman.
  • The 'strongest' studies are based on a sample size of 100 participants or more, use of a comparison group, and employment of controls for variables that may confound the effects such as demographics, exposure to violence, prior history of mental health problems, etc.
  • The meta-analysis is based on 22 published studies, 36 effects, and it brings together data on 877,181 participants 163,831 of whom experienced an abortion.
  • Overall, women with an abortion history experience an 81% increased risk for mental health problems. The results showed that the level of increased risk associated with abortion varies from 34% to 230% depending on the nature of the outcome.
  • When compared to unintended pregnancy delivered women had a 55% increased risk of experiencing any mental health problem after abortion.
  • Nearly 10% of the incidence of all mental health problems was shown to be directly attributable to abortion.

For further information:

Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
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