Family First NZ says that the building body of evidence about the potential harm of abortion to the mother means that the debate on the abortion should be reopened.
The University of Otago study found that women who had an abortion faced a 30% increase in the risk of developing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
“Yet this message is nothing new or controversial. It is consistent with research worldwide which is being done into the effects of abortion,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
Last week, a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research also found a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders and refuted a American Psychiatric Association report released in August claiming abortion causes no mental health issues for women. The research team found induced abortions resulted in increased risks for a myriad of mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.
In 2007, an Australian research team from the University of Queensland found a close connection between abortion and drug and alcohol abuse. And earlier this year, The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK recommended updating abortion information leaflets to include details of the risks of depression. They said that consent could not be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information.
“With 98% of abortions in NZ being performed on the basis of the mental health of the mother, it is time that the research on the post-abortion mental health outcomes was given equal weight with the pre-abortion claims.”
“Along with protecting the rights of the unborn child, we need to protect the rights of women to know the medical facts in order that they can make fully informed decisions,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First NZ is calling for a law which requires informed consent (including ultrasound) for all potential abortions, and counselling to be provided only by non-providers of abortion services. Parental notification of teenage pregnancy and abortion should happen automatically except in exceptional circumstances approved by the court.