National Right to Life Director Calls Study “Flawed”
The National Right to Life Director of Education and Research, Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., is criticizing a report by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and published this month in JAMA Psychiatry (“Women’s Mental Health and Well-being 5 Years After Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion“), calling the report flawed, and says O’Bannon, “it aims to further the myth that women who have an abortion experience little or no psychological after effects.” Read the analysis of the study by the National Right to Life here.
A Vast Literature on Post-Abortion Response
Fortunately, most researchers have been open-minded in seeking the truth about abortion and mental health problems. For example, the largest and most definitive analysis of the mental health risks associated with abortion was published September 1, 2011 in the prestigious British Journal of Psychiatry (Coleman, PK, “Abortion and Mental Health: Quantitative Synthesis and Analysis of Research Published 1995-2009,” BJP 2011; 199:180-186). The meta-analysis conducted by Professor Priscilla Coleman, PhD of Bowling Green State University, examines twenty-two major studies published between 1995 and 2009 involving a total of 877,181 women, of whom 163,831 had abortions.
Taking into account all the mental health problems studied—anxiety, depression, alcohol use/misuse, marijuana use and all suicidal behaviors—here is what this rigorous analysis found:
- Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.
- Women who aborted have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
- Women who aborted have a 55% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an “unplanned” pregnancy who gave birth.
- Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37%), alcohol use/misuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and suicidal behavior (155%), compared to those who have not had an abortion.
Spiritual Desolation After Abortion
Extensive research over the years has shown the negative psychological, emotional and spiritual effects of abortion. A priest active in Project Rachel, the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, described the spiritual desolation experienced by women who have had an abortion: “Many feel they have committed ‘the unforgivable sin’ and are destined for hell, or that they deserve to be on death row. Most suffer this spiritual desolation in silence, too ashamed and feeling unworthy to seek reconciliation from God.”
At the New Life Center, we understand the pain, regret, shame, guilt, and unforgiveness that some women feel after abortion, because we minister to women, on-site at 1601 East Grand River in Lansing. Our trained instructors offer the course, “Forgiven and Set Free,” at no cost. This eight-week course allows women to unpack the repressed feelings they have experienced from the effects of abortion and to become free from the pain they have been carrying often alone, for many years.
The Project Rachel National Helpline 888-456-HOPE
The New Life Center has been approved as a National Project Rachel helpline through the USCCB and its ATT network. Throughout the State of Michigan and the USA, the helpline offers assistance to post-abortive men and women to provide referrals for counseling, spiritual direction, post-abortion recovery retreats and some on-site post-abortion recovery classes locally.
Click here to find a Project Rachel Ministry office in the State of Michigan for post-abortion help.
At the New Life Center , our local number in Lansing, 517-993-0291, is linked to the national toll-free number, 888-456-HOPE. Women and men calling from Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Genesee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties will be directed to our Project Rachel hub in Lansing.
There is hope after abortion.
Project Rachel, the Catholic Church’s ministry to those who have been involved in abortion, is a diocesan-based network of specially trained priests, religious, counselors, and laypersons who provide a team response of care for those suffering in the aftermath of abortion. In addition to referring for Sacramental Reconciliation, the ministry provides an integrated network of services, including pastoral counseling, support groups, retreats and referrals to licensed mental health professionals.
It’s normal to grieve a pregnancy loss, including the loss of a child by abortion. It can form a hole in one’s heart, a hole so deep that sometimes it seems nothing can fill the emptiness.
See the USCCB National Website for abortion recovery.
Information on the Adverse Psychological Reactions after Abortion
In Spanish / En Español
Have you read how your prayers and support saved an East Lansing woman’s unborn baby from abortion? Read FAITH magazine’s Advent and Christmas issue.
Contact the New Life Center at newlifecenterlansing.org or visit us at 1601 East Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906. We can be reached at 888-456-HOPE.