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Friday, 28 October 2005 12:08
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Questions over abortion link to depression
A study in the British Medical Journal has dismissed suggestions that who choose to abort an unwanted first pregnancy run a higher risk of depression.

Previous research carried out in the US claimed to have found that abortion significantly increased a woman’s chance of suffering depression.

The BMJ study looked at 1,247 women who aborted or delivered an unwanted pregnancy and found that women who chose to terminate reported less depression than those who went ahead with the birth.

However, the researchers believe that this may be down to socio-economic factors, as those choosing to abort tended to be more affluent than those who did not.

"This suggests that if the goal is to reduce women's risk of depression, research should focus on how to prevent and ameliorate the effect of unwanted childbearing, particularly for younger women," said the researchers.

Professor Nancy Russo, from Arizona State University, who led the study, said the differences in results between the two studies may be down to the different methods used.

The initial research looked at women carrying pregnancies that had not been intended, which could include some that were wanted but unplanned. The recent study considered only women who said the pregnancy was unwanted.

A spokesman from the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, questioned the latest studies findings.

"Our counselling service deals with many women who have had abortions, and their feelings of remorse and sorrow are 100% genuine and deeply painful," he said.

"Even if abortion did no emotional or physical harm to women, it would still be wrong because it always takes an innocent, defenceless human life.

"We hope society will one day see abortion as the grave denial of a basic human right that it undoubtedly is."

Sophie Corlett, of the mental health charity Mind, said: "While any distressing life event has the potential to affect an individual person's mental health, this study supports earlier research that abortion, as opposed to bringing to term an unwanted pregnancy, does not increase the risk of later depression.

"Mind would welcome attention to the support needs and work/education opportunities for all women who experience unwanted pregnancies, whatever the outcome might be."

A spokeswoman from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, which provides abortions to women in Britain, said: "From our experience, abortion does not cause depression, as long as a woman has discussed all her options and made a fully informed decision.

"Very few women return for post-abortion counselling and this is because they made the best decision for them at the time and see no need to talk to a counsellor."
Julia Millington of the ProLife Alliance said:

"The problems that lead women to opt for abortion - financial hardship, abusive men, social stigma - are still not being properly addressed. Real choice would give women the freedom and support to feel that abortion is neither the only nor good solution that the pro-abortion lobby suggests."


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