Abortion Hurts Women

New studies show that abortion inflicts emotional damage -- worse than anyone ever imagined.

This always happens to me.
I wrote my last column about a recently passed Colorado law requiring that the parents of minor children be notified before that child can obtain an abortion. (Sounds awful, doesn’t it? That a “child” would ever obtain an abortion at all is horrifying.) I pointed out that this type of legislation is an important step in the right direction, given the fact that that it significantly reduces teen abortion rates in every state where it is enacted. Ironically, on the same day, a study came out showing that women who have abortions show a dramatic increase in the likelihood of clinical depression. So I wrote that these types of laws are saving a lot of young women from a lot of pain.

Only I didn’t know how much pain. 

Apparently that study was only the tip of the iceberg. I turned in the column, and the very next day a whole flurry of new information came out on the actual damage abortion does to women. And it was really good stuff.

I debated. Should I write additional paragraphs and see if editors could still add them? Write a whole new column?

Or should I just write a follow-up?

In the initial article, I reported that a study had revealed that women who have had abortions experience a 65% higher rate of clinical depression than women who give birth, and that this increased likelihood was still present eight years after the abortion. It occurred to me later that the word “depression” might give readers the idea that these women were just feeling a little blue over the whole affair. A little depression would be understandable, since things didn’t work out as they’d wanted, but not particularly serious.

But then the next study came out.

It appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and it reviewed medical records of 56.741 California Medicaid patients. Apparently, compared to women who had given birth, women who’d had abortions were 160% more likely to have been hospitalized for psychiatric treatment in the first 90 days following the abortion or delivery. Rates of psychiatric treatment remained significantly higher for at least four years. Depressive psychosis was the most common diagnosis. 
This is a lot more serious than a little case of “the blues.” A woman has to be pretty seriously traumatized to be placed in a psychiatric hospital.

So why didn’t we know about this sooner? According to the study’s author, David Reardon (who also authored the other study – more about that in a minute), no one saw the problem because no one cared to look. A common complaint among women in post-abortion recovery programs is that, when they have mentioned their abortions to their therapists, abortion has been dismissed as irrelevant. According to Reardon, "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. This study, based on objective medical records, validates the claims of tens of thousands of women in post-abortion recovery programs." 

With this latest study, the CMAJ published commentary from a Dr. Brenda Major, who suggested that perhaps it was marital status or previous psychiatric illness instead of abortion that pushed these women “over the edge.” I’m assuming that “marital status” in this case means “single,” since most women who obtain abortions are unmarried. And, as a single woman, I have to say that I’m a little offended at the implication. (I may at times complain that being single is driving me crazy, but I don’t mean it literally.) I’m also offended that anyone, particularly a woman, could dismiss these results so easily. And ironically, Dr. Major, in her commentary, neglected to mention her own recently published study which found that 1.4 percent of post-abortive women suffer from full-blown Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, directly attributable to the abortion. Dr. Reardon believes that this number is very low, but points out that even if it were true, 1.4 percent of 1.3 million annual abortions result in 18,200 new cases of PTSD every year, or half a million since 1973. That’s a lot of suffering women. 

As I said, Dr. Reardon published both of these studies. What’s more he and his colleagues were responsible for five others as well, all in the last 18 months. Those studies found, among other things, that post-abortive women have higher rates of substance abuse and suicide.

Abortion is not good for women. It is, in fact, very very bad for them. And women who have had abortions instinctively know that – even if no one else will acknowledge it.

Dr. David Reardon is daring to look where the medical establishment has failed to look. And in doing so, he has become the best friend post-abortive women have.

I’ll tell you more about him next time.