LifeNews.com is reporting a New Zealand researcher, who is one of the world’s leading experts on the kind of mental health problems women face after an abortion, who is saying that the new report from the American Psychological Association denying any link between abortion and mental health disorders, such as depression, flies in the face of the best studies.
Dr. David Fergusson (who I understand is NOT pro-life) conducted a seminal study in January 2006 that found women who have abortions are more likely to become severely depressed.
The New Zealand study found that having an abortion as a young woman raises the risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Some 42 percent of the women who had abortions had experienced major depression within the last four years after their abortion. That’s almost double the rate of women who never became pregnant. The risk of anxiety disorders also doubled.
According to the study, women who have abortions were twice as likely to drink alcohol at dangerous levels and three times as likely to be addicted to illegal drugs.
Fergusson responded to the new APA report saying the member of the panel that produced it glossed over research like his.
“The APA report, in fact, does draw a very strong and dogmatic conclusion that cannot be defended on the basis of evidence since this evidence is lacking by the admission of the report,” he says.
Fergusson says the committee, if it doubted the wealth of research showing women are more likely to suffer from a variety of mental health issue after an abortion, should have concluded that more research is needed.
Instead, the panel claimed no link exists and suggested women could have abortions without the worry of subsequent problems.
“What the Committee has, in effect, said is that until there is compelling evidence to the contrary, people should act as though abortion has no harmful effects,” he said. “This is not a defensible position in a situation in which there is evidence pointing in the direction of harmful effects.”
Fergusson compared the results of the APA study to officials in the tobacco industry defending their products as healthy.
“Since there is suggestive evidence of harmful effects it behooves us to err on the side of caution and commission more and better research before drawing strong conclusions,” he said.
I say, shame on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) appointed Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.
It had been given the assignment of examining the peer-reviewed research looking at the mental health factors associated with abortion.
The task force claimed to have found “no credible evidence that a single elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in and of itself causes mental health problems for adult women.”
Many of the experts interviewed by the Family Research Council who reviewed the APA release “found that the conclusion just doesn’t add up when you examine the evidence. The heavy pro-abortion bias seen in the selection criteria of studies reviewed and the ever shifting standards of evaluation suggest that the APA reached its conclusion first and then made their report fit that predetermined ending.”
The FRC points out that “the report purposely ignores the high prevalence of women affected by repeat abortions or the equally high number of women in the U.S. who have felt ‘coerced’ into their abortions.
“There is a growing body of testimony of real women who have suffered from abortion, as cited by the Supreme Court’s Gonzales v. Carhart decision last year which upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.”
Carrie Gordon Earll, senior bioethics analyst at Focus on the Family Action, said the APA buried the real news.
“The report basically admits that if you’ve had multiple abortions, your risk for mental-health problems may be greater,” she said. ”If you’ve been pressured or coerced into an abortion, you may have an even more negative experience.”
Sixty percent of abortions are either repeat abortions or those in which the women are pressured to have one.
“That’s millions of women whose needs and psychological problems are not represented in this report,” Earll said. “The APA is spinning the results to their desired political conclusion, which is that they want to keep abortion legal and promoted in the culture.”
The APA’s report does a disservice to healthcare professionals – especially the psychologists the organization claims to represent.
Moreover, this is a terrible disservice to women, the men who love them, and the well-being of both.
For a more detailed review, see: APA Report on Abortion-Mental Health Problem Link Politically Biased.