People who are opposed to abortion have various reasons to be against it but one belief that has been long held by opposers has recently been disproved. This belief is that having an abortion is more likely to make you commit suicide. Previous studies had claimed that women who had abortions had a higher risk of first-time suicide attempts that didn't end in death.
A 17-year long study was able to conclude that while this may be true the reasoning behind it is not because of the abortion but instead was due to pre-existing mental health problems. The study observed more than 500,000 women between the age of 18 and 36 of Danish descent and sought to compare the risk of attempted suicide in women before and after an abortion.
Of the 523.380 women that were observed in the study, 48,990 of them had a one-time first-trimester abortion which equaled about 9% of them. Of the 523,380 women, 10,216 of them attempted to commit suicide in the 17 year period of time which equaled about 2% of the total.
When researchers took a closer look at the numbers, they saw that there was very little difference between the rates of attempted suicide before and after abortion for the women who had undergone one.
Of the women that had abortions, there were 8.9 attempts in every 1,000 women in the year before an abortion, and 8.6 attempts in every 1,000 women in the year after the abortion.
Over time, they saw similar rates of suicide attempts before and after, but decreasing every year until around the 5-year mark when they saw that the rates of attempted suicide were just about equal to the rates found in women who hadn't undergone abortions.
The study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal found that one commonality in the women who'd had abortions and attempted suicide was pre-existing mental conditions which caused them to conclude that the mental conditions were the cause of the increased risk of attempted suicide.
Although the claims that this increased risk was due to the abortion itself, previous research that has been done on abortion and its correlation to suicide never considered mental health issues that the woman receiving the abortion may have. The strongest risk factors that were found in women that attempted suicide were that they'd had previous contact with a psychiatric service, they'd previously used of antidepressant or antipsychotic medication.
Previous research has also had low participation rates and an inability to retain test subjects for a long duration which has made it hard to come to a reliable conclusion. The new study is the first to address these limitations. This study is not only important in disproving this theory but also in risk factors to look out for when women seek abortions to help prevent more suicides from happening going forward.