New abortion study
As with marijuana, the science around abortion is often cherry-picked or otherwise misrepresented by advocates. For instance, during her 1998-2000 term in the Nevada Assembly, Sharron Angle argued for her Assembly Bill 580—requiring doctors to tell women seeking abortions that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer—by citing the few studies that supported her case and ignoring far more numerous studies that did not (“Dr. Angle’s prescription,” RN&R, June 24, 2010).
Another argument used by abortion opponents is the notion that women who undergo abortions thereafter are saddled with emotional or mental health problems—anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies.
But a new study by the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California San Francisco found, to the contrary, that failure to obtain an abortion could lead to such mental health maladies. According to lead author and social psychology researcher M. Antonia Biggs, “In this study, compared with having an abortion, being denied an abortion may be associated with greater risk of initially experiencing adverse psychological outcomes. These findings do not support policies that restrict women’s access to abortion on the basis that abortion harms women’s mental health.”
Nine states require doctors to advise women of post-abortion mental health problems, which prompted Forbes columnist Tara Haelle to note that if the new study is accurate, those nine states “therefore require counselors to lie to women about the psychological consequences of having an abortion.”
The latest Centers for Disease Control figures indicate abortion has been in sharp decline in nearly every state and within most groups of women. In Nevada, the abortion rate (abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age) fell from 13 to 10.9, and its abortion ratio (number of abortions per 1,000 live births) declined from 207 to 173.