Women who go through with an abortion suffer no lasting mental health problems—according to conventional wisdom, at least.
However, conventional wisdom is on notice following the publication of a bombshell meta-analysis that found 34.5 percent of women experience post-abortion depression globally.
Released in October in the UK-based scientific journal BMC Psychiatry, the meta-analysis reviewed data from 15 different papers representing over 18,000 women across 11 nations.
“[T]he occurrence of post-abortion depression has been observed to be widespread globally,” concluded the Ethiopia-based research team led by Natnael Atnafu Gebeyehu and Kirubel Dagnaw Tegegne.
The team explains that their paper is “the first global meta-analysis of literature on post-abortion depression, to the best of the researchers’ knowledge.”
An internet search of the article’s title—“Global Prevalence of Post-Abortion Depression: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”—reveals how few mainstream media outlets have bothered to report on the distressing finding.
When addressing this topic at all, outlets such as The New York Times, NBC News, and Time reference older studies that have a far narrower scope in order to prop up the idea that abortion carries no significant mental health risks for the women who have one.
Indeed, the American Psychological Association (APA) promotes the distorted notion that it is not abortion but the denial of an abortion that has the greater mental health impact on pregnant women.
An article on the APA website quotes Debra Mollen, Ph.D., a professor of counseling psychology at Texas Woman’s University, who claims, “It’s important for folks to know that abortion does not cause mental health problems. … What’s harmful are the stigma surrounding abortion, the lack of knowledge about it, and the lack of access.”
However, that is not what was discovered by the team of researchers behind the recent meta-analysis which compiled data on post-abortive women from nations as diverse as Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
“Healthcare providers should prioritise the provision of post-abortion counselling, care, and emotional support to women,” the team of six researchers warned.
“Depression is a major public health concern, with women being twice as likely as men to experience depression during their lifetime. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide,” they added.
In their discussion, the researchers pointed to prior studies that found prevalence rates of post-abortion depression as high as 82 percent in affluent nations (though the researchers excluded North and South America due to a lack of data) and 74 percent in the developing world.
The meta-analysis demonstrated little variation in mental health outcomes from continent to continent; however, a nation’s wealth did result in different outcomes for women: Post-abortion depression rates were 43 percent in lower-middle income nations, while high income nations saw rates of 25 percent.
“This disparity may be attributed to the low social status of individuals, which can impede access to intangible resources such as security, opportunity, and education, irrespective of their objective income levels when they reside below the societal material standards,” they write.
One of the few outlets to report on the recent meta-analysis was The Washington Stand, which quoted Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council. Szoch explained:
The new meta-analysis revealing that one in three women suffer serious depression after an abortion affirms what we all innately know to be true: Abortion goes against a woman’s very nature. From the moment of her child’s conception onward, a mother’s life will always exist in relationship to her child. That child is, and always will be, a part of her. Science demonstrates this very clearly. A mother’s own DNA is altered by the child she is carrying. A mother’s unborn child literally leaves behind an imprint in her mother’s DNA changing that mother’s DNA to include a part of the child.
As highlighted by Szoch, the meta-analysis underscores the importance of better alternatives for pregnant women than abortion, along with support services for women who are suffering from post-abortion depression.
The good news is just how many pregnancy support centers there are in the United States offering help and hope to women regardless of what they are facing.
According to The Daily Wire reporter Megan Basham, “82,000 volunteers in nearly 3,000 pro-life centers across the country annually serve roughly two million clients—more than three times the number of abortions procured.”
She adds, “In 2019, before there was any serious inkling that Roe might be overturned, pro-life centers provided $270 million worth of services and goods to at-risk women, including medical care, education, and baby items like diapers, car seats, and clothing.”
That’s not to mention the support available to women who are suffering from post-abortion depression.
As the recently released short film I’ll Speak For You affirms, “There is hope, you just have to know where to find it.”
Image credit: Pexels