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Abortion and Depression (Part 2 of 2)

Interview With Theresa Burke of Rachel's Vineyard

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania, MARCH 4, 2006 (Zenit) - Depression over a past abortion is an often hidden and ignored link that needs to be addressed, says a counselor who deals with post-abortion trauma.

In the second part of this interview with us, Theresa Burke, founder of the Rachel's Vineyard Ministries, explains how depression is a natural effect of abortion that may erupt years later.

Rachel's Vineyard organizes weekend retreats for those struggling with the emotional or spiritual pain of an abortion.

Q: What are the risks of depression stemming from the guilt of an abortion?

Burke: Because abortion is legal, it is presumed to be safe. Indeed, it is commonly identified as a woman's "right."

This right, or privilege, is supposed to liberate women from the burden of unwanted pregnancies. It is supposed to provide them with relief -- not grief and depression.

One of the big problems is that when women are assaulted by their own natural reactions to their loss, they don't understand what is wrong with them.

Many women go into treatment for depression, anxiety, or addictions, but simply don't understand the roots of their illness. In many cases they are drugged and diagnosed but never led on a path to healing and recovery.

Unresolved memories and feelings about the abortion become sources of pressure that may erupt years later in unexpected ways. Unresolved emotions will demand one's attention sooner or later, often through the development of subsequent emotional or behavioral disturbances.

Professor David Fergusson, a researcher at Christchurch School of Medicine in New Zealand, wanted to prove that abortion doesn't have any psychological consequences.

He was surprised to find that women who have had abortions were one-and-a-half times more likely to suffer mental illness, and two to three times more likely to abuse alcohol and/or drugs.

Fergusson followed 500 women from birth to age 25. "Those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems, including depression (46% increase), anxiety, suicidal behaviors and substance use disorders," reads the research published in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology.

Abortion is in fact responsible for a profound array of problems:

-- a 160% increase in rates of suicide in the U.S., according to the Archives of Women's Mental Health, in 2001;

-- a 225% increase in rates of suicide in Britain, according to the British Medical Journal, in 1997;

-- a 546% increase in rates of suicide in Finland, according to the Acta Obstetrica et Gynecologica Scandinavica, in 1997.

In total, the average boosted suicide risk of these three studies is 310%!

This high suicide rate following abortion clearly disproves the myth that termination of a pregnancy is safer than childbirth.

The best record-based study linking psychiatric admission rates following abortion reveals that in the four years following pregnancy outcome, women who abort are two to four times more likely to be admitted for psychiatric hospitalization than women who carry to term.

Another record-based study reveals that even four years after abortion the psychiatric admission rate remained 67% higher than for those women who did not have abortions.

Aborting women were more likely to be diagnosed with adjustment reactions, depressive psychosis and neurotic and bipolar disorders, according to the Archives of Women's Mental Health, in 2001.

The risk for postpartum depression and psychosis during later wanted births is also linked to previous abortion.

An average of eight years after their abortions, married women were 138% more likely to be at high risk of clinical depression compared to similar women who carried their unintended first pregnancies to term. This is according to the British Medical Journal of January 19, 2002.

In the category of drug and alcohol abuse, we see many women trying to cope with their inner conflict and grief through a 4.5 times higher risk of substance abuse following abortion.

And this is only based on those who are reporting substance abuse. Think of all those who think that drinking eight glasses of wine each night is simply a way to "unwind." This aspect was reported in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, in 2000.

The results of the first international long-term, follow-up study led by Dr. Vincent Rue reveals overwhelming evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Statistics collected in America reveal the following:

-- 55% of those who had abortions report nightmares and preoccupation with abortion;

-- 73% describe flashbacks;

-- 58% of women report suicidal ...

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