Tag: study

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

I’ve been following the MTR debate with some interest.  I had planned to write a blog post about how she’s not my kind of feminist, and I may yet do, but a statistic she quoted today in an article with Mamamia caught my eye.

6. How do you resolve the apparent divide between being pro-life and a feminist?

A growing number of feminists are questioning abortion as safe, simple and risk free. Research is also indicating that women have significant negative mental health outcomes after abortions. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists has published a meta-analysis in the British Journal of Psychiatry finding that women who undergo abortions are 81% more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems. (Substance abuse increased 340%, suicidal behaviour by 155%).

I looked at those statistics and boggled, because when I last looked at Wikipedia regarding mental health and abortion the information suggested that there was no correlation between negative health outcomes and abortion.  I went and tracked down what I could find of the British Journal of Psychiatry article.  Sadly I found it was behind a paywall, so I went and looked at what other people had said regarding the article, the methods used, and the author of the piece.  It was an interesting read.  To start off, I’ll quote the Results section of the abstract:

Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems* (my own asterisk) was shown to be attributable to abortion. The strongest subgroup estimates of increased risk occurred when abortion was compared with term pregnancy and when the outcomes pertained to substance use and suicidal behaviour.

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