A new study finds women who have an abortion in their youth raise the risk of developing depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
The researchers tracked 1,265 children from birth in the 1970s in New Zealand in the Christchurch Health and Development Study, the Herald Sun newspaper of Melbourne, Australia reported.
Among the women in the study who had an abortion, 42 percent at age 25 had experienced major depression at some stage during the previous four years.
That’s nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant.
The researchers said the risk of anxiety disorders also increased by a similar degree, the Melbourne paper reported.
The implications of the results are significant for public policy, said the study’s leader David Fergusson, as lawmakers and activists debate whether abortion increases psychological distress or alleviates it.
Fergusson said the results could undermine the legal basis for access to abortion in jurisdictions in Australia and elsewhere that make abortion legal only if the pregnancy threatens the woman’s physical or mental health.
The study also found women who had at least one abortion were twice as likely to abuse alcohol and three times as likely to be dependent on illicit drugs.
About 41 percent of the 500 women in the study had pregnancies, with 90 abortions among them.
As WorldNetDaily reported in December, a 13-year study in Finland found women who have an abortion face a 248 percent greater risk of suicide, accidental death or homicide in the following year.
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.
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