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12 December 2005
Abortion Leaves Lasting Mental Distress

Surprising new research from the University of Oslo, in Norway, has found that women who have had an abortion still experience mental distress related to the abortion years after it happened. The researchers say that even after five years, women who have had an abortion suffer higher levels of mental distress than other women and those who have had a miscarriage. The findings appear in the journal BMC Medicine and will likely fuel the abortion debate in the United States further.

The study was led by Anne Nordal Broen, and involved studying 40 women who had had a miscarriage and 80 women who had undergone an abortion. The women were interviewed and asked to complete questionnaires 10 days, six months, two years and five years after the pregnancy termination. The aim of the study was to assess the women's feelings about the event and measure their levels of stress, anxiety and their quality of life.

The results suggest that women who had a miscarriage suffer more mental distress up until six months after the event than women who had an abortion. But women who had an abortion, experienced more mental distress long after the event - two and five years afterwards - than women who had a miscarriage.

Additionally, it seems that the women who had an abortion experienced high levels of anxiety, feelings of guilt and shame and had to make efforts to avoid thoughts about the event. When compared with women from the general population, women who had an abortion experienced more anxiety 10 days, six months, two years and five years after the event.

Source: BioMed Central

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