The Abortion-Suicide Link

A conspiracy of silence seems to surround the well-documented excess of suicide deaths among women with a history of abortion.

One study, STAKES, the statistical analysis unit of Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health, pulled the death certificate records for all the women of reproductive age who died between 1987 and 1994. They then searched the national health care data base to identify pregnancy-related events for each of these women in the 12 months prior to their deaths. They found that after abortion, women were found to be seven times more likely to die by their own hand than were women who gave birth. Birth seemed to offer a protective period, since this was the only pregnancy outcome that showed a lower suicide risk than the general population in the year following the end of pregnancy.

In terms of suicide rates per 100,000 women, there is a general rate of suicide for women of childbearing years of 11.3 per 100,000. Among women who have had an abortion the suicide rate is 34.7 per 100,000. Women in that age group who have given birth have a suicide rate of 5.9 per 100,000.

After the STAKES findings were published, researchers at the South Glamorgan Health Authority in Great Britain to examine their own data on admissions for suicide attempts both before and after pregnancy events. After their pregnancies, there were 8.1 suicide attempts per thousand women among those who had abortions, compared to only 1.9 suicide attempts among those who gave birth.

Other Evidence

Dr. Barry Garfinkel, head of the University of Minnesota’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, surveyed teenagers to determine what factors contributed to depression, stress, and thoughts of suicide. The study found that girls who had abortions were four times as likely to attempt suicide as girls who had not aborted.
(“Suicide More Likely Among Aborted Teens” National Right to Life News 4 Apr. 2, 1987)

Dr. Carl L. Tishler found that post-abortion teenagers are more likely to commit suicide on or near the anniversary of their abortions than at any other time.
(Carl L. Tishler, Ph.D., Adolescent Suicide Attempts Following Elective Abortion: A Special Case of Anniversary Reaction Pediatrics 670-671 Nov 1981)

David Reardon’s survey of post-abortion women revealed the following:

In response to the question:

After my abortion I experienced suicidal feelings:

12.3% Strongly Disagree – No suicidal feeling
22.25% Disagree
9.4% Neither Agree Nor Disagree
24.2% Agree
31.6% Strongly Agree

Meaning that 55.8% of respondents (over half) reported feeling suicidal after an abortion.

Researchers have identified factors that make a woman higher-risk for adverse psychological reactions to abortion:

* emotionally immature teenagers
* women with previous psychiatric problems
* women aborting a wanted pregnancy for medical or genetic reasons
* women who encounter opposition from their partner or parents for their abortion decision
* women who have strong philosophical or religious objections to abortion
* women who are highly ambivalent or confused about their abortion decision, and/or had great difficulty making the decision
* women who are coerced by others into having an abortion
* women undergoing late, second-trimester abortions

The risk factors for poor adjustment after abortion are well known. It’s about time abortion facilities started taking a holistic approach to their patients’ well-being instead of just treating them as reproductive tracts that need to be emptied.

The previous by Christina Dunigan

I would like to add:

A study of more than 173,000 American women who had abortions or carried to term found that, during the eight years after the pregnancy ended, women who aborted had a 154% higher risk of suicide than women who carried to term
(DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41, Aug. 2002.)


Teen girls are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide if they have had an abortion in the last six months than girls who have not had an abortion, and 2-4 times more likely to commit suicide after abortion compared to adult women
(B. Garfinkel, et al., “Stress, Depression and Suicide: A Study of Adolescents in Minnesota,” Responding to High Risk Youth (University of Minnesota: Minnesota Extension Service, 1986); M. Gissler, et. al., “Suicides After Pregnancy in Finland: 1987-94: register linkage study,” British Medical Journal, 313: 1431-1434, 1996; and N. Campbell, et. al., “Abortion in Adolescence,” Adolescence, 23:813-823, 1988.)

Share on Facebook

6 thoughts on “The Abortion-Suicide Link”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + one =