An assistant professor at Bowling Green State University says even in the event of an unintended teen pregnancy, giving birth is better for teenagers than abortion. A study conducted by BGSU research psychologist Dr. Priscilla Coleman determined that abortion can cause severe mental health problems in young women.
Coleman says she took data from a longitudinal survey of more than 1,000 women to find out the difference between teens who gave birth and teens who aborted an unexpected pregnancy. Her study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence evaluated adolescent girls with unintended pregnancies and found that those who aborted their babies were five times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems afterward than those girls who carried their pregnancies to term.
A teenage mother’s bringing of a child into the world is undoubtedly an experience that will afford her some hardships, the researcher acknowledges. “But there are more psychological problems with abortions, even more than with delivering a baby,” she asserts.
The research “speaks pretty loudly,” Coleman observes. “Specifically, we found that only one adolescent who delivered an unintended pregnancy, for every five adolescents who aborted, sought counseling for psychological problems,” she says.
Also, extensive studies indicate that, as compared with every one adolescent with a birth experience, “just slightly under every four adolescents with an abortion reported frequent sleep disturbances,” the Bowling Green State psychologist points out. “And then finally,” she adds, “the study found that only one adolescent with a birth — in excess of every six adolescents who aborted — reported more frequent marijuana use.”
The scientific evidence is now both “strong and compelling,” Coleman contends, that abortion “poses more risks to women than giving birth.” She says these findings really fly in the face of traditional pro-abortion thinking by supporting the idea that, although having a child as a teen creates definite difficulties, a teen is likely to encounter far more problems after an abortion. In her report, Coleman states that, for “women who feel forced into abortion by others or by life circumstances, negative post-abortion outcomes become more common.” She goes on to note that adolescent girls, being generally far less prepared to assume the responsibilities of parenthood, are logically more vulnerable to being pressured to abort.
Statistics from the Planned Parenthood-affiliated Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks U.S. abortion rates, would seem to bear this out. According to the Institute, every year nearly a quarter of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on girls less than 20 years old.
But despite the excellent data supporting her study, Coleman complains that no mainstream news outlets have reported her findings. In fact, she says it took a while to get the Journal of Youth and Adolescence to publish her results.
Compelling Evidence Dismissed by Pro-Abortion Crowd
Other researchers have affirmed the importance of Dr. Coleman’s distinctive study and the validity of her findings. According to LifeSiteNews, one such researcher is Dr. David Reardon with the Elliot Institute. He concurs with Coleman’s data but notes that many pro-abortion individuals and groups regularly dismiss findings that link higher rates of mental illness and behavioral problems to abortion as compared to giving birth.
Reardon says abortion “rights” proponents have long insisted that women who abort fare better than women who carry unintended pregnancies to term. “Coleman’s study addresses this argument,” he contends, “and shows that the facts don’t support abortion advocates’ speculations.”
And Brendan Malone, spokesman for the New Zealand pro-life group Family Life International, calls Coleman’s study “part of a growing body of research which scientifically dispels the myth that abortion is better for a young woman than carrying a pregnancy to full term.” He says the U.S. study confirms “findings released earlier this year by Professor Fergusson of the Christchurch School of Medicine,” showing that abortions are harmful to the mental health of adolescent girls.
Malone says adolescent girls make up the second largest group having abortions in New Zealand. He is urging government authorities and the healthcare community to take notice of Coleman’s study, along with others that support her findings, and to “take urgent steps” to implement strategies that will protect teen girls from the harm abortion causes.