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About 25% of the approximate 1.2 million abortions reported annually are committed on girls younger than 20 years old. These young ladies need extra care and attention when facing unintended pregnancies. A nationally representative study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence revealed that adolescent girls who abort are five times more likely to seek subsequent help for psychological and emotional problems compared to their peers who carry unwanted pregnancies to term.
Previous studies have found that adolescent girls who undergo abortions may experience difficulties coping after an abortion, possibly because they are more likely to be pressured into unwanted abortions or to undergo abortions later in their pregnancies. According to Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University who conducted this study, “When women feel forced into abortion by others or by life circumstances, negative post-abortion outcomes become more common.”
This data was drawn from a federally-funded longitudinal study of American adolescents who participated in two series of interviews in 1995 and 1996. This study is unique because 17 control variables were examined, including pregnancy “wantedness,” prior mental health history, and family factors.
Dr. David Reardon, of the Elliot Institute, commenting on Coleman’s study, explained, “Over the last six years, numerous studies have conclusively linked higher rates of mental illness and behavioral problems associated with abortion compared to childbirth. But abortion advocates have generally dismissed these findings, insisting that while women who abort may fare worse than women who give birth to planned children, they [women who abort]may fare better than the important subgroup of women who carry unintended pregnancies to term. Coleman’s study addresses this argument and shows that the facts don’t support abortion advocates’ speculations.”
Another argument made by the pro-abortion groups is that girls who have mental health issues prior to their pregnancies will have a more difficult time completing their pregnancies than aborting their babies. However, a study conducted in New Zealand in 2005 debunked that theory.
Reardon explained, “The standard theory has been that women who have problems coping after abortion were probably already mentally unstable and therefore more likely to be even worse off if they continued the pregnancy. What they found [in the New Zealand study]was that women who were mentally stable before abortion were still more likely to experiences mental health problems after abortion.”
The Pro-Life community has long been warning girls, women, and families of the negative effects of abortion. Dr. Coleman explained that while having a child as a teen may be difficult, “the risks of terminating seem to be even more pronounced.” Caring for an infant and child is understandably difficult for a young girl; however, many support services exist to help girls parent or place their children for adoption.
If you know someone who is pregnant and needs help, please contact Birthright at (800) 550-4900.
“The findings that are emerging show that abortion leads to negative outcomes for many women, regardless of whether the pregnancy was planned or wanted. Indeed, not a single study has ever shown statistically significant benefits associated with abortion compared to birth. In terms of maximizing women’s health and well-being, the scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that birth is preferable to abortion.” David Reardon, Elliot Institute
Dest: Elliot Institute