NRL News

One Step Forward: Getting Some Media Attention for Study Documenting Abortion’s Very Negative Mental Health Impact

by | Sep 9, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D.

Psst. Can you keep a secret? No matter how well-researched; no matter how “peer-reviewed” they may be, studies that conclude that abortion has an adverse impact on women are typically eviscerated in the United States, when they are not ignored altogether.

I’m thinking of “Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research,” by Priscilla K. Coleman from Bowling Green State University. NRLC’s own Director of Education, Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon, analyzed this “mega-analysis” in this space last week.

Dr. Coleman examined 22 of the best designed studies on abortion and mental health over the years 1995-2009. These studies tracked outcomes for 877,181 women, 163,831 who had experienced abortion.

Coleman found that aborting women showed an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, with particular risks (e.g., substance abuse, suicide) even higher. Moreover, Coleman’s meta-analysis showed that 9.9% of the incidence of mental health problems in the population group of aborted women was directly attributable to abortion.  This also included 34.9% of suicides in this group!

Interestingly, there was better coverage in Europe (England, to be specific) than here—and that cannot be attributed alone, or even largely, to the fact that her study appeared in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry. There are few newspapers or tabloids even marginally sympathetic to our cause, so the explanation maybe that where the publication appeared penetrated the usual pro-abortion defenses.

I say all that to come to a happy conclusion: better late than never I did find one article online from CBS News. Written by Ryan Jaslow the headline accurately conveys Coleman’s conclusion: “Abortion tied to sharp decline in women’s mental health” (;lst;1).

Before he provides the rebuttal, from those who disagree, Jaslow provides many of the highlights of the study. He even allows Dr. Coleman to make an important point: “”There are in fact some real risks associated with abortion that should be shared with women as they are counseled prior to an abortion.”

Dr. Coleman has produced a slew of studies appearing in the “best” journals. Perhaps she and others are making progress in ways we don’t often appreciate.

Categories: Abortion