Pro-Choice groups and organizations such as Planned Parenthood maintain that abortion is beneficial to women. They claim that women do not have emotional problems after their abortions. Planned Parenthood’s slogan “Care. No Matter What” implies that their workers care about women and are dedicated to helping them in difficult circumstances.
On their website, Planned Parenthood claims:
“Research studies indicate that emotional responses to legally induced abortion are largely positive. They also indicate that emotional problems resulting from abortion are rare and less frequent than those following childbirth.”
Unfortunately, statistics tell a different story.
Two studies from Finland (1) show that women who had abortions were 6 to 7 times more likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth. These studies were based on medical records rather than interviews. Researchers looked at the death certificates of women to ascertain how many died by suicide. Then they used medical records to see how many of these women had abortions. The fact that this study was based on medical records is significant, because of a phenomenon called “recall bias.” Recall bias occurs when women are asked on questionnaires or in person whether they had an abortion. Many times, because of the stigma attached to the abortion procedure, women do not answer this question honestly. This tendency to hide a past abortion often skews the results of such studies. Therefore, studies that are based on medical records rather than interviews are considered to be more accurate.
The study only covered the first year after women’s abortions. Many post-abortion testimonies reveal that grief after an abortion can surface years later; sometimes a wanted pregnancy, seeing ultrasound pictures or photographs of unborn babies, or holding a friend’s baby triggers regret, depression, and suicidal feelings. So in reality, these studies may actually reveal only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to suicidal feelings after abortion.
Other statistics show that women have a higher rate of suicide after abortion. Suicide rates among women of childbearing age are approximately 11.3 out of 100,000.
Postabortion women have a [suicide] rate of 34.7. Interestingly enough, women who have given birth have a suicide rate of 5.9 per hundred thousand. Birth, then, seems to give some protection against suicide. Perhaps women who have children discover they’ve something to live for, or do not want to hurt the children that depend on them by committing suicide. In any case, giving birth seems to be a detriment to suicide – whereas abortion increases the suicide rate.
Shortly after the Finnish studies, researchers in Great Britain conducted their own survey of abortion medical records. They found a similar correlation between abortion and suicide. They found an 8.1 rate of suicide per thousand women who had abortions, and a 1.9 rate of suicide among women who carry to term.
The statistics for teenagers who have abortions are even more disturbing. Teen girls are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion in the last six months than girls who have not had an abortion, and 2-4 times more likely to commit suicide after abortion compared to adult women.(2)
A study done by Doctor David C Reardon, and abortion researcher and mental health professional who helps post-abortion women revealed a 154% higher suicide rate among women who aborted.(3) In interviews for his book, “Aborted Women: Silent No More” (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002), he discovered that up to 60% of women experienced suicidal feelings. Dr. Reardon’s research was done on women who regretted their abortions, so his data may not be applicable to all women who have abortions. However, a 60% statistic cannot be ignored. 28% of the women he interviewed had actually attempted suicide.
Another survey of post-abortion women, which appeared in Women’s World, revealed that 45% (well over a third) of women had suicidal feelings following their abortions.(4).
These are just some of the studies connecting abortion with suicide. Pro-life organizations need to reach out to post-abortion women and give them encouragement, support, and compassion
By Sarah Terzo