Abortion Linked To Mental Illness

A controversial study recently published by researchers at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, links abortion to mental illness and suicide. The research team was comprised of university faculty from a broad spectrum of specialties including psychology, psychiatry, obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences. The team discovered an association that links substance abuse, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and suicide attempts to abortion.

The Canadian team's report said that half of the women they studied experienced depression and drug dependence after having an abortion. The report also stated that women whose annual household earnings come to $75,000 or more, had a greater tendency to report having undergone an abortion when compared to women whose household earnings come to less than $25,000.

Substance Abuse

The research team examined data from the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health to find correlating factors such as eating disorders, substance abuse, anxiety, disruptive behavior, suicide attempts and abortion. They then looked for mental disorders that developed after abortions.

"This was the first study to examine associations between abortion and several mental disorders," says psychiatrist Dr. Jitender Sareen. "We found a higher likelihood of lifetime mood disorder in women who had experienced an abortion compared with those who had never had an abortion."

But Sareen underlines the fact that while the data identifies a correlation, it doesn't point to any causation. That could mean that a woman suffering from a mood disorder might have a greater inclination toward having an abortion just as the opposite might be true: being caught with an unplanned pregnancy and undergoing a subsequent abortion could set off a mood disorder.

Validates Feelings

Meantime, Angelina Steenstra, who is the national coordinator for Canada's Silent No More Awareness Campaign commented, "Studies like this are so validating for men and women who are suffering." Steenstra says that based on her experience, the disorders the researchers have identified in their study are the definite outcome of abortion. Her organization helps men and women who have gone through abortion, giving them a place where they can discuss the negative impact that abortion has had on their lives.

Steenstra had an abortion when she was only 15, after being the victim of date rape. Since the abortion, the activist has suffered from being infertile. She also says she went through all the difficulties identified in the Manitoba study. "At the moment the baby died through abortion, I knew something terrible happened and I was never going to be able to undo it … I was plummeted into a depression that lasted for years, until I actually started making the connection that the depression was related to the aftermath of abortion."

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