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New academic review on Abortion and Women’s Health launched in Parliament

3 November 2017

Yesterday, Thursday 2 November, the Labour MP Mary Glindon hosted a reception to launch the report Abortion and Women’s Health on behalf of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

“The report Abortion and Women’s Health is a major academic review of studies on the impact of abortion on the mental and physical health of women,” she said.

“It is only right that after 50 years of legalised abortion, those on both sides of the debate should examine the impact of abortion on women,” Mrs Glindon continued. “There are some shocking findings in the report, for example women who have had abortions are 30% more likely to experience mental health problems and that women who have had abortions are 6 times more likely to commit suicide than other women.

“The number of abortions at 8.8 million is staggering but it is equally worrying to read about the toll abortion takes on women,” she concluded. “I hope that everyone here will read the report – it’s really important that it gets to the people who can make a difference.”

The reception was attended by MPs and peers from all the major parties, as well as representatives of nine pro-life organisations.

Guests were welcomed by SPUC Chief Executive John Smeaton, who began: “It is important to say loud and clear that SPUC cares about women.”

This was emphasised by Clare Bremner of  Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline, a sister organisation of SPUC that offers free, non-judgmental counselling to women, men and healthcare professionals suffering after an abortion experience. “When I told the women I’m currently counselling that I was coming here today, they were excited,” she said. “They kept telling me, make sure you tell them what it’s like for us – they need to know.”  She went on to describe how for so many of the women she counsels, abortion didn’t seem like “their choice” at all – they were pressured into it by partners, family or doctors.

The report was welcomed by Dr Greg Gardner, a GP working in Birmingham. However, he said, the kind of research from other countries that make up the review is not happening in the Britain, because there is no requirement to put a patient’s NHS number on an abortion form, so no data can be collected about patient outcomes. He called on the Department of Health to bring abortion providers into line with the rest of the NHS and make record linkage research possible in England and Wales. “The NHS should be a major contributor to the world literature on research on abortion, but it is not.”

The final speech was from Bishop John Keenan of Paisley, who endorsed the report on behalf of the bishops of Scotland. He said: “This is not about winning arguments, but real help, to real women.”

Abortion and Women’s Health is a fully referenced review based on global research and lists a catalogue of physical and mental health problems linked to terminations. It was carried out by Dr Gregory Pike, a medical researcher and the Founding Director of the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture. It has been sent to all MPs.

Key findings from the review include:

  • women are more likely to die from any cause after abortion versus giving birth.
  • suicide is around six times greater after abortion than after childbirth.
  • abortion is associated with significantly higher death rates for women up to ten years after an abortion, compared with women who gave birth
  • women described significant grief three years after abortion.
  • a 30% increased risk of depression and a 25% increased risk of anxiety following abortion
  • women who had abortions experienced mental health disorders 30% more often compared to women who had not had an abortion.
  • depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are also associated with the subsequent pregnancies of women who have had an abortion.
  • women who have had an abortion are at a higher risk of psychiatric admission compared to women who keep their babies.
  • women having medical abortions may experience hospital admission, blood transfusion, emergency room treatment, administration of IV antibiotics and infection.

SPUC’s director of campaigns Antonia Tully, launching the report, said:

"The pro-abortion lobby and the abortion industry, which make millions of pounds from the taxpayer for carrying out state-funded terminations, don’t seem to care about the impact of abortion on women or refuse to look at what that impact is. The reality is that the impact is both heart-breaking and horrific for so many women.

"We really do care that women who have an abortion experience mental health problems 30% more often compared with women who give birth. 

"It matters greatly to us that the risk of suicide is approximately six times greater after an abortion than after childbirth.   

"The mental, emotional and physical impacts are long-lasting and often life-changing.”

Notes to editors:

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Comments (1)
  • Mary

    4 November 2017, 1:12am

    I just hope they can get the word out to the public. It will take some very courageous people in the media to go with this and actually interview women and have them on TV, radio and print media.

    Don't hold your breath that women's magazines will take note of it. Their advertisers know that mothers have less money to spend on themselves, so any threat to legal abortion is a threat to their profit margins.

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