Women may suffer from depression after giving birth to their child just as they may suffer from depression after having an abortion. Many Pro Life groups will jump on the post abortion depression statistics as proof that abortion is “wrong,” but that logic would also make giving birth wrong. Sometimes women feel that it is necessary to have an abortion. That necessity may also put these women at a higher risk of future health problems.
Facts About Post Abortion Depression
1. Women who have an abortion are 3x more likely that women of child-bearing age in the general population to commit suicide.
2. The increased risk percentage of women who have an abortion compared to women in the general population of having at least one mental health issue: 81%.
3. Teen girls are up to 10x more likely to attempt suicide then their counterparts who have not had an abortion.
4. Teen girls who have had an abortion are up to 4x more likely to successfully commit suicide when compared to older women who have had an abortion.
5. About 45% of women who have had an abortion report having suicidal feelings immediately following their procedure.
6. Only 1% of women of child-bearing age seek psychiatric help for mental health issues in the 9 months prior to having an abortion. After having an abortion, the percentage rises to 1.5%.
7. Within a year after first-time mothers gave birth, 7 per 1,000 women were treated for mental-health issues, in comparison to 4 per 1,000 before baby.
8. Up to 33% of mothers will experience depression at least once between the time their child is born and the child’s 12th birthday.
9. 1995 data suggests that the rate of deliberate self-harm is 70% higher after abortion than after childbirth.
10. The British Journal of Psychiatry found an 81% increased risk of mental trauma after abortion.
11. At least 27% of women who have an abortion will have a moment of suicidal ideation afterward.
12. A study of California Medicaid patients found that the risks of suicide increase by 154% for women after they have an abortion.
13. 2 in 3 women who have a late abortion [after 12 weeks] suffer from the clinical definition of PTSD.
14. 40% of women in one UK survey said that they wanted to keep their child, but the pressures of others to have an abortion forced their hand in the decision.
15. Women whose first pregnancies ended in abortion are 65% more likely to score in the ‘high-risk’ range for clinical depression than women whose first pregnancies resulted in a birth.
16. Abortion may be a risk factor for subsequent depression in women for up to 8 years after the pregnancy event.
17. Women who have had an abortion are 34% more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
18. 110%. That’s the increased risk of alcohol abuse in women who have had an abortion.
19. The number of women who have an abortion every year in the United States: 827,000.
The greatest threat to women who have had an abortion are the choices that are made because of depression. Suicide is a common outcome for women who are suffering from post-abortion depression and not every woman will seek treatment for their condition. Outside of this one fact, the studies that have been conducted on the matter conflict with each other. Some link abortion directly to depression while others link having children directly to depression.
It must be noted that there may be high levels of bias within these statistics on both sides of the debate.
What Can We Do To Help?
The #1 thing we can do as a community is to help women who are facing a difficult choice in whatever way we can. A majority of pregnancies that occur are not planned and a majority of unplanned pregnancies wind up as an abortion. Either way, however, a woman who becomes pregnant will automatically face an increased risk of depression no matter what choice she has regarding her future. Instead of pre-judging each woman’s circumstance, providing services and supports makes a lot more sense.
Will some women choose to keep their children with extra supports in place? Maybe. Will more women choose to have an abortion if more supports are in place? Maybe. By educating teen girls about contraceptives and safe sex procedures, we can proactively prevent this issue of mental health from spiraling out of control.