Beijing, China (LifeNews/CFAM) — A new study from China shows that women who have experienced induced abortion have omnipresent mental health problems during a subsequent pregnancy. It also confirms that adverse mental health effects of induced abortion are far more severe than those of miscarriage and they persist longer.
The most recent study published in the Bulletin of Clinical Psychopharmacology by Z. Huang and colleagues from the Anhui Medical College in China finds that women who had an induced abortion a year or more prior to the pregnancy were 49% more likely to experience depression and 114% more likely to suffer from anxiety in the first trimester of subsequent pregnancy compared to women with no abortion history.
Women who had an induced abortion less than one year prior to the pregnancy experienced a 97% increased risk of anxiety in the first trimester and 64% greater risk of depression in the second trimester. Women who experienced spontaneous abortion one year or more before the pregnancy, however, did not face greater risk of anxiety or depression.
The Chinese study looks at 6,887 women, more than 40% of whom had experienced at least one induced abortion. Maternal education, income, place of residence and body mass index (BMI) scores are controlled for in order to identify the independent effect of abortion on mental health problems during subsequent pregnancy.
In China, abortion is legal and available for women as a government service. The authors argue that abortion plays an imperative role in achieving China’s goals of population stability through the one-child policy.
In rural areas, a second child is sometimes allowed after five years, especially if the first-born is a girl. In urban areas, couples often choose to terminate the first pregnancy, knowing they are only allowed one child. The densely populated Anhui province, where the study was conducted, is a case in point. Partly as a result of widespread abortion, it also has one of the highest gender imbalance ratios in China: more than 130 boys for 100 girls according to a British Medical Journal 2009 studyon “China’s Excess Males, Sex Selective Abortion, and One Child Policy.” The natural ratio is 103 to 105 boys per 100 girls.