We need a post about this latest study suggesting abortion doesn’t trigger mental illness. I, however, will not let the media tell me what to think about it. SO. I make you aware of this, while commiting to actually read the thing later.
It’s interesting that though the headlines basically allow the reader to think “no mental health problems after abortion” there are more mental health problems among those who have abortions than those who give birth. The headline comes of the fact that there was no increase in mental health problems after abortion–those who had mental health problems after had them before, where having a baby showed an increase in mental health issues:
Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling — similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion….While first-time mothers had a lower rate of mental problems overall, the proportion of those seeking help after giving birth was dramatically higher. About 7 per 1,000 women got mental health help within a year of giving birth compared with 4 per 1,000 women pre-delivery.
I reserve judgment. And if anyone feels like they have the time and the inclination and wants to send the study along in full, I’d welcome that!
Brigitte doesn’t have time to read the whole thing, so she’ll just talk through her hat: Seriously. You don’t see me talk about these things very much. Mostly because to me, the reason why abortion is wrong isn’t because it causes (or not) mental-health problems, or breast cancer, or a bad complexion. Abortion is wrong because it kills an innocent human being, often in a most distressfully casual manner.
So a study says having an abortion does not cause women to seek psychiatric help as much as giving birth to a baby does. So what? Of course giving birth to a baby (even a wanted baby) is stressful. Duh. Nobody ever suggested it was a stress-free picnic. Some women just have a touch of baby blues. Others have more serious problems. Most worry about being a good mom. And I’m willing to bet most moms occasionally feel that they’re not up to the job.
But there’s one thing the woman who gave birth to her baby will never feel: guilt at having taken her baby’s life. That’s got to count for something, even if scientists can’t measure it.
UPDATE: Read Dr. Priscilla Coleman’s assessment of the study, here. Dr. Coleman is a reputable psychologist who has worked on this topic for years.by
Can I talk out of my hat too, Brigitte?
First off, this study only examines the year before and after the abortion or birth, and only looks at psychiatric episodes that are serious enough to require medical intervention.
Now, I’ve given birth three times. The first year is tough. Maybe I should come out of the closet here, and say that I am one of those psychiatric stats. I was hospitalized for a month six months after the birth of my second. But it gets easier. and you get into the hang of things, and you start feeling better and better about yourself, because being a Mom is really a rather fun job.
And I’ve never had an abortion, but have followed the trajectory of a couple of close friends who have. The initial feeling was relief, like a big weight had been lifted from their shoulders. But a way down the road, both kind of hit a brick wall. One started sleeping around, and drinking heavily, and generally treating herself like a pile of dog doo. Both dropped out of school.
But you know what p*sses me off the most? A woman seeks out help a couple of years after her abortion because she’s struggling with it, and you know what they tell her? “The problems you are having aren’t a result of your abortion. Nope, they aren’t. The study here shows that you were actually having problems before you had your abortion. You just don’t remember what those problems were, but they aren’t from your abortion. Nope, abortion doesn’t cause women to struggle. The studies here prove that. And the American Psych. Assoc. says that too.”
Both the women I’m talking about were A students in high school from good families. They just had a little too much fun in the bar when they got to college.