A new study challenges defenders of abortion rights who insist the procedure is an essentially benign experience that brings relief to the woman.

The research, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found women who had abortions were 160 percent more likely than delivering women to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days after the end of pregnancy.

David Reardon, the study’s lead author, said women in post-abortion recovery programs commonly complain therapists dismiss their concerns about past abortions.

“Therapists who fixate on the ‘abortion is benign’ theory, either out of ignorance or allegiance to defensive political views on abortion, are doing a great disservice to women who need understanding and support,” said Reardon, co-author of “Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion.”

“This study, based on objective medical records, validates the claims of tens of thousands of women in post-abortion recovery programs,” he said.

The study’s review of the medical records of 56,741 California Medicaid patients also showed rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years after an abortion.

A previously published study by Reardon and his colleagues revealed women who had abortions also were more likely to require subsequent outpatient mental health care. Depressive psychosis was the most common diagnosis.

Reardon notes the American Psychological Association, which lobbies for abortion rights, has frequently maintained abortion is a benign experience that predominately brings relief to most women.

Some APA members, such as Nancy Adler and Brenda Major of the University of California, say those who contend abortion can cause emotional problems are misleading the public.

Adler has argued abortion is so common that if it did cause emotional problems, the nation’s psychiatric wards would be filled with the evidence.

Major, in a commentary appearing in the CMAJ along with Reardon’s study, contended the implication abortion can cause psychiatric problems is misleading.

Other factors, such as marital status or prior psychological problems, could offer better explanations for the findings, she argued.

Reardon, head of the Elliot Institute in Springfield, Ill., conceded these other factors might also contribute to psychiatric illness but insisted abortion can both aggravate pre-existing problems and trigger new ones.

Major’s commentary is a product of “the abortion distortion effect,” Reardon declared, noting it omitted evidence from a study of her own that supports his argument.

Major’s study, recently published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, showed 1.4 percent of the women interviewed two years after their abortions suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder solely attributable to their abortions.

Reardon said even such a low percentage, projected on the 1.3 million American women undergoing abortions each year, would result in 18,200 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder each year, or over a half million cases since 1973.

Inclusion of other types of negative reactions, he said, would increase the overall complication rate by 20 times or more.

Reardon and his colleagues have published seven studies on abortion complications in the last 18 months.

As WorldNetDaily reported, a recent one showed women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion are 65 percent more likely to experience clinical depression than women who give birth.

Other studies published by the team showed higher rates of suicide and substance abuse among women who had abortions.

Related story:

Research links abortion to depression

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