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America's Culture War: Abortion

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Abortion & Mental Health

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

As the abortion debate continues to rage in America, the evidence continues to mount—not only that the pre-born infant is human—but that abortion is also harmful to the mother. For example, University of Oslo researchers conducted a study in which they compared the psychological after-effects of miscarriage and abortion (“Abortion ‘Leaves...,’” 2005). While miscarriage was associated with more mental distress in the six months after the loss of a baby, abortion had a much longer lasting negative effect. Anne Nordal Broen, the leader of the team of researchers, said the responses of the women in the miscarriage group were similar to those expected after a traumatic life event. But the abortion group had more complex responses. Anna Pringle, spokesperson for the anti-abortion charity Life, observed: “This confirms years of experience with women who come to us for counseling after abortion. The emotional suffering can be massive” (“Abortion ‘Leaves...’”). Richard Warren, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, agreed: “It has always been considered, and this study also shows, that the decision to terminate may bring with it long-standing feelings of anxiety and guilt” (“Abortion ‘Leaves...’”).

Additional evidence comes from New Zealand—a country where abortion is legal. Researchers for the Christchurch Health and Development Study conducted a 25-year longitudinal study on the long-term effects of abortion on the mental health of young women ages 15 to 25. Reporting their results in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, the scientists found that those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors, and drug-use disorders. Their conclusion: “The findings suggest that abortion in young women may be associated with increased risks of mental health problems” (Fergusson, et al., 2006, 47[1]:16).

These findings are congruent with the Bible’s insistence that abortion, like other sins, is not only spiritually destructive (Miller, 2003), but psychologically and emotionally damaging as well (Proverbs 15:13-15; Isaiah 57:20-21). Those who are acquainted with the God of the Bible and His Word are aware that when His directives are violated, adverse consequences inevitably ensue. Since the Creator has provided His creatures with insight regarding how life is to be lived and how happiness may be achieved, going against His will results, not only in spiritual destruction, but in physical, emotional, and psychological devastation as well. The pagan nations that killed their own children were denounced by God as evil, committing abomination, and engaging in an action that He would never think of commanding them to do (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; 32:35). When Christian ethics are abandoned, the negative ramifications are extensive and far-reaching. Indeed, “[t]he fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). It is He Who insists that we recognize that “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). Conformity to His instructions will result in positive mental health and the peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

REFERENCES

“Abortion ‘Leaves Mental Legacy’” (2005), BBC News, December 12, [On-line], URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4520576.stm.

Fergusson, David M., L. John Horwood, and Elizabeth M. Ridder (2006), “Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47[1]:16, January, [On-line], URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j. 1469-7610.2005.01538.x?prevSearch=allfield%3A%28abortion%29.

Miller, Dave (2003), “Abortion and the Bible,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1964.




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