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Abortion Causes Mental Ill Health In Women

3 December 2008

Media Release

Abortion Causes Mental Ill Health In Women

A new study conducted by the Otago University reveals that women having an abortion have a 30% risk of developing mental ill health, higher than other women who chose life for their baby. The study was reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Abortions increased the risk of severe depression, anxiety and substance abuse by one third. The study concluded that childbirth and miscarriages do not adversely affect women’s mental health.The authors, Professor David Fergusson and two other doctors concluded that anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 percent of all mental health disorders seen in New Zealand result from women having abortions.

Confounding factors which might be associated with increased risks of various pregnancy or mental health outcomes were taken into account. This longitudinal study surveyed 500 women who live in Christchurch. The study supports the findings of studies conducted overseas.

This study supports the statement of the Royal College of Psychiatrists made on 14 March 2008.The statement said; “Women who want to have an abortion should undergo counselling if doctors have concern for their mental health.”

Since the passing of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act in 1977, more than 350,000 unborn children have been killed in New Zealand, 98 per cent of these abortions were authorised on the grounds of mental health. There are probably tens of thousands of women in our community who have been deeply wounded, traumatised and suffering mental ill health as a result of having an abortion. This study raises serious questions about the lawfulness of abortions authorised on mental health grounds that are resulting in serious mental ill health.

Abortion not only kills an unborn child it may damage the mental health of women. This is not only a human rights issue, it is also a serious public health issue. Women with an unplanned pregnancy deserve compassion and practical help to bring their child to birth. Why do we as a nation continue to offer vulnerable women the destruction of their child as a solution?

Women have a legal right in the Code of Rights contained in the Health and Disability Act to be provided with full information on the complications that might follow having an abortion. Right to Life believes that women are not being informed of the serious risk to their mental health if they have an abortion.

Right to Life earnestly hopes that women will cease to suffer in pain and silence and will be encouraged to speak up about the physical and psychological damage that is being inflicted on them from abortions that they are so often coerced into. We also hope that there will be an increasing awareness in the community that abortion is part of a culture of death that not only kills unborn babies but cruelly damages women’s health.                  

Right to Life calls upon the government to ensure that women considering an abortion are fully informed of the serious risk to their mental health as well as the serious spiritual, physical and emotional damage that could result from having an abortion. We also urge the government to amend the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 to remove mental health as grounds for an abortion.


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