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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

(Post-abortive Women Use Drugs More Often?)

Iíve heard that post-abortive women use drugs more often. Is this true? Well, certainly thatís been the general experience of all pro-life counselors for many years. Even so, we welcomed a study recently published that did substantiate this.

A study in a professional journal? Yes. This was published in the March issue of the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Its authors are Dr. David Reardon, director of the Elliott Institute, and Dr. Philip Ney, a psychiatrist from British Columbia who has traveled internationally and specializes in post-abortion counseling.

I didnít know there was such a study. Well, this one is getting a lot of publicity but, according to the authors, itís not alone. There have been 15 other published studies which connect a history of abortion to subsequent drug or alcohol abuse. These others have simply not been publicized.

What are their findings? They found that women who have had an abortion are five times more likely to report subsequent substance abuse compared to women who carry to term and deliver. This study was drawn from a national reproductive history survey of a random sample of 700 women who ranged in age from 24 to 44 years of age.

A random sampleÖdoes that mean thit can be assumed that this indicates that this is probably happening across the nation? According to the authors: ďEven if we assume the lowest statistical range for the relative risks, our results indicate that each year in the United States there are at least 150,000 new cases of abortion-related substance abuse. But given the range of relative risks involved, the actual number could be over 500,000 cases every year.Ē Thatís their quote.

Why do women take these drugs? One of the main reasons seems to be that taking drugs is one of several self-destructive tendencies that are related to abortion. Dr. Reardon noted that records in Finland have shown that the risk of death from suicide is six times higher for women who had abortions, and the risk of dying from accidents was four times higher, and the risk from homicide was twelve times higheróand these in the year following an abortion. And thatís that many times more than it was for women who had had babies.

Wow! Tell me more. I think one of the really disturbing things about this is that substance abuse is the leading cause of death right after birth and one of the leading causes of malformation of the baby in later pregnancies. You see, these women use alcohol or illegal drugs to suppress unwanted feelings about their past abortions and, in doing so, they may be injuring subsequent babies in their next pregnancies.

[11/23/01]


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