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Study Links Abortion, Women's Violent Deaths

Dateline: 3/27/00

Post-abortion researcher David Reardon repoted in a recent press release that a recent major study of death certificates and government medical records in Finland has shown that the risk of death from suicide is six times higher for women who have had an abortion compared to women who gave birth. The researchers also found that the risk of dying from accidents and homicide was four and twelve times higher, respectively, in the year following an abortion.

This finding reinforces an inadvertent finding made by the Centers for Disease Control in a study published in Public Health Reports in July of 1978. The CDC study, "Deaths After Legally Induced Abortion," found a higher number of women suffering traumatic death (accident, homicide, and suicide) in the months following their abortions than would be expected in the general population of women.

The CDC study linked abortion certificates in Georgia for 1975 with death certificates in Georgia for 1975 and the first two months of 1976. Of the ten deaths they found of women upon whom abortion certificates had been filed, eight of the women died violently. There were two suicides, three murders, and three accidental deaths.

The study noted that statistically, there should have been only 5.7 violent deaths among the 19,877 Georgia women who had abortions in 1975. No further investigation was undertaken. Since abortion certificates for 1975 were matched to death certificates through the first two months of 1976, and not for the entire year, it is unknown how many women fell victim to violent deaths in the one-year-period following their abortions.

According to Reardon, the increase in accidental or homicide-related deaths among post-abortive women is most likely due to risk-taking behavior that is an expression of self-destructive or suicidal tendencies. It is still unclear whether abortion causes self-destructive behavior or whether it simply aggravates previously existing self-destructive tendencies.

"Clearly, women with a propensity to risk-taking may be more likely to become pregnant and perhaps more likely to choose abortion," Reardon said. "In such cases, while abortion may not be the primary cause of their problems, it may contribute to their psychological deterioration. On the other hand, it is also clear that some women who were not previously self-destructive have become so as a direct result of their traumatic abortion experiences. At this time, however, we have no way of knowing how many women fall into each of these two categories."

For more information on this press release, go to Elliot Institute.

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