Women who have an abortion face a 248 percent greater risk of suicide, accidental death or homicide in the following year, according to a newly released 13-year Finnish study.
The survey also found the suicide rate among women who had an abortion was six times higher than for women who had given birth in the prior year and double that of women who had miscarriages.
The study was conducted by Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health and published in the European Journal of Public Health. The researchers studied data from the years 1987 to 2000 on all deaths among women of reproductive age, 15 to 49.
While the risk of death among women who had given birth in the prior year was lowest, death from suicide, accidents and homicide was highest among women who had an abortion in the previous year.
Women who had been pregnant had less than half the death rate of women who had not been pregnant. The risk of death for women who had suffered a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy did not noticeably differ from women who had not been pregnant.
The findings confirm other studies carried out in the United States, as well as Finland, that showed an increase in the death risk of women who have abortions.
In 1997, a government-funded study in Finland found that women who had abortions were 3.5 times more likely to die the following year than women who had given birth.
Furthermore, researchers looking at death records linked to medical payments for birth and abortion for 173,000 California women discovered there was a 62 percent higher chance of death for aborting women than delivering women over the eight-year period that was examined.
The study also found that the increase in the risk of death was from suicides and accidents. It showed a 154 percent higher risk of death from suicide and 82 percent higher risk of death from accidental injuries.
The main author of the California study, David Reardon, said record-linkage studies like this one are key to getting an accurate picture of pregnancy associated mortality rates.
“In most cases, coroners simply have no way of knowing that the deceased recently had an abortion, which is why these new record-linkage studies are so important,” Reardon said.
Government health officials in Finland found in a recent study that 94 percent of maternal deaths involving abortion could not be identified by merely looking at a death certificate. This discovery applies to the data published by the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S.
Also, previous studies draw links between women who get abortions and an increase in substance abuse, anxiety, sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts, psychiatric illness, relationship problems and risk-taking behavior, which could easily lead to death by suicide or accident.
Beyond that, authors of the new Finland study suggested there might be common risk factors between having induced abortion and dying from accidental injury. They called on medical professionals to be aware of these risks.
“Women seeking abortions should be informed that abortion is associated with significant physical and mental health risks, and it also deprives them of numerous physical and mental health benefits associated with childbirth.” Reardon said.
He added, it’s “especially important for health care providers to be aware of these risks and the risk factors which identify those women who are at highest risk.”
“Providing women with the resources to help them resolve emotional issues relating to past abortions will not only increase their well-being but may possibly save their lives,” he said.
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