Abortion Act 50 Years On: New academic review reveals impact on women’s mental and physical health
27 October 2017
A new review has revealed the "heart-breaking and horrific" impact of abortion on the health of women.
Abortion and Women’s Health (full report and summary linked below), an evidence-based review for medical professionals of the impact of abortion on women’s physical and mental health, is being published to coincide with this week’s 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act.
The fully referenced review is based on global research and lists a catalogue of physical and mental health problems linked to terminations. It comes as there are increasing calls for the decriminalisation of abortion, and at a time when abortion providers are reeling after a series of damaging inspection reports by the Care Quality Commission.
The review, which will be sent to GPs across the country, was commissioned by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) the world’s oldest pro-life organisation, founded in 1967. It was carried out by Dr Gregory Pike, a medical researcher and the Founding Director of the Adelaide Centre for Bioethics and Culture, and updates an initial 2010 review.
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.”
Mrs Tully went on to say:
"The overwhelming majority of women are mis-certified for abortion on mental health grounds. 97%- 98% of abortions carried out in England and Wales are on the grounds that ‘the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman’. Yet studies from around the world, documented in Abortion and Women’s Health, show that the reverse is true, particularly in the risk to the woman’s mental health.”
Mrs Tully added: “These abortions are illegal. If abortion agencies had the welfare of women truly at heart, they would ensure that these illegal practices were stopped.
"50 years of legal abortion has given us 50 years of evidence of abortion’s true impact on women. Far from extending provision of abortion, we should end this practice that has taken millions of unborn lives and done unspeakable harm to women.”
"That is why we are fighting the campaign to decriminalise abortion every inch of the way,” she continued.
"We are aiming for every MP in the country to hear first-hand of the dangers to women and babies of decriminalising abortion. We want the firm commitment of MPs to oppose any moves to decriminalise abortion.”
SPUC is staging a constituency-based mass lobby of MPs on 27-28 October, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act.
Notes to editors:
For more information, please contact Alithea Williams, SPUC Communications Officer, on:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7820 3121