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Abortion riskier for adolescents than pregnancy

A press release from Family Life International, New Zealand

Wednesday 16th August, 2006

New Zealand must take heed of new research which shows that abortion is far riskier for adolescent women than pregnancy

A new US study just published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence demonstrates that abortion poses far graver mental health risks to adolescent women then carrying a pregnancy to full term does.

The research by Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University, found that adolescent women who abort unintended pregnancies are fives times more likely to seek subsequent help for psychological and emotional problems compared to adolescent women who carry "unwanted pregnancies" to term.

The study also found that adolescents who had abortions were also more than three times more likely to experience subsequent trouble sleeping, and nine times more likely to report subsequent marijuana use.

This study is not the first to show such results, but it is one of only a handful of studies that has compared the outcomes for adolescent women who abort with the outcomes for adolescent women who carry unintended pregnancies to term.

This study also has several other methodological strengths that bolster the significance of its findings.

These methodological strengths are important because other similar studies have been rejected by pro-choice advocates and groups who claim that the serious psychological harm to women shown in such studies was being caused by the unintended pregnancy and not the abortion.

This study clearly shows that such assertions have been incorrect.

"The New Zealand Government and healthcare providers must take notice of this research" says Family Life International media spokesperson; Brendan Malone.

"This study confirms the findings released earlier this year by Professor Fergusson of the Christchurch School of Medicine; which showed that abortions are harmful to the mental health of adolescent women."

"These studies are part of a growing body of research which scientifically dispels the myth that abortion is better for a young woman than carrying a pregnancy to full term is."

Past research showing these types of outcomes for women who have had abortions was criticized for its shortcomings. However such studies that have been released in the last five years have systematically addressed the concerns relating to previous studies, and they have been rigorously scrutinized by the peer review process.

"Adolescent women make up the second largest group of women having abortions in New Zealand, with 3,718 last year alone" says Brendan Malone.

"If our government and our society truly cares for women's health, then we will take urgent steps to implement strategies to protect adolescent women from the harm that abortion causes them, by providing them the necessary support and assistance to carry their babies to full term."

"If we don't take urgent action on this issue then we will have to deal with some very serious and costly social and psychological health problems in the coming years" says Brendan Malone.


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