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A new study from New Zealand, which was recently reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that women who have had an abortion can be at increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Prof. David Fergusson of the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago studied data from women who had been interviewed six times between the ages of 15 and 30, each time being asked whether they had been pregnant and, if so, what the outcome of that pregnancy had been. More than 85 percent of women who aborted a pregnancy reported at least one negative emotional reaction, including sorrow, sadness, guilt, regret, grief, and disappointment. Those who reported at least one negative reaction had rates of mental health problems “approximately 1.4 to 1.8 times higher than women not exposed to abortion.” Earlier reports from the same study back in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of those who had an abortion suffered depression afterwards, nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant.

The 2009 report concluded that the findings were “not consistent with strong pro-life positions that depict unwanted pregnancy terminated by abortion as having devastating consequences for women’s mental health,” nor did they “support strong pro-choice positions that claim unwanted pregnancy terminated by abortion is without mental health risks.”