The Abortion-Suicide Link
A conspiracy of silence seems to surround the well-documented excess of suicide deaths among women with a history of abortion.
One study, STAKES, the statistical analysis unit of Finland's National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health, pulled the death certificate records for all the women of reproductive age who died between 1987 and 1994. They then searched the national health care data base to identify pregnancy-related events for each of these women in the 12 months prior to their deaths. They found that after abortion, women were found to be seven times more likely to die by their own hand than were women who gave birth. Birth seemed to offer a protective period, since this was the only pregnancy outcome that showed a lower suicide risk than the general population in the year following the end of pregnancy.
Figure 2: Deaths By Suicide
Graphic by Elliot Institute and linked back to their source.
In terms of suicide rates per 100,000 women, this translates to a general rate of suicide for women of childbearing years of 11.3 per 100,000. Among women who have had an abortion the suicide rate is 34.7 per 100,000. Women in that age group who have given birth have a suicide rate of 5.9 per 100,000.
After the STAKES findings were published, researchers at the South Glamorgan Health Authority in Great Britain to examine their own data on admissions for suicide attempts both before and after pregnancy events. After their pregnancies, there were 8.1 suicide attempts per thousand women among those who had abortions, compared to only 1.9 suicide attempts among those who gave birth.
Dr. Barry Garfinkel, head of the University of Minnesota's Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, surveyed teenagers to determine what factors contributed to depression, stress, and thoughts of suicide. The study found that girls who had abortions were four times as likely to attempt suicide as girls who had not aborted.
"Suicide More Likely Among Aborted Teens" National Right to Life News 4 Apr. 2, 1987
Dr. Carl L. Tishler found that post-abortion teenagers are more likely to commit suicide on or near the anniversary of their abortions than at any other time.
Carl L. Tishler, Ph.D., Adolescent Suicide Attempts Following Elective Abortion: A Special Case of Anniversary Reaction Pediatrics 670-671 Nov 1981
David Reardon's survey of post-abortion women found a propensity to weeping and suicidal thoughts:
|After my abortion I experienced:||
Examples of abortion-related suicide:
Researchers have identified factors that make a woman higher-risk for adverse psychological reactions to abortion:
For more information, with cites, see Identifying High-Risk Abortion Patients.
The risk factors for poor adjustment after abortion are well known. It's about time abortion facilities started taking a holistic approach to their patients' well-being instead of just treating them as reproductive tracts that need to be emptied.
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