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A recent study has indicated that there is a heightened risk of suicide among women who have undergone an abortion

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One of the primary justifications for legalizing abortion in Ireland is the assertion that women experiencing distress would become suicidal if they were compelled to continue their pregnancies. Interestingly, this was the original rationale employed in numerous US states prior to the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. This is documented in detail by Dr. Bernard Nathanson in his books Aborting America and The Hand of God.

In the context of the pre-Roe versus Wade era in New York, where abortion laws were more liberal than in most other states, a woman seeking an abortion was required to consult with a psychiatrist and present a case that she was emotionally unstable and at risk of suicide if the abortion were not permitted. Many of these meetings became “rubber-stamping” sessions with a predetermined script. A woman would say the right things, pay her hundred dollars for the “session,” and receive written permission to have an abortion, which she would then take to the abortion provider. This legal situation opened the door for abortion on demand.

However, the underlying question remains: does having an abortion reduce a woman’s risk of suicide? A number of studies have been conducted on this topic, and the results of these studies are largely one-sided.

A study conducted by researchers in Finland involved the interviewing of 600,000 women. The results of this study indicated that women who became pregnant and had abortions were six times more likely to commit suicide than women who carried their pregnancies to term. Furthermore, women who aborted were three times more likely to commit suicide than those who had not been pregnant. The statistical analysis revealed that rather than increasing a woman’s risk of suicide, carrying a pregnancy to term actually decreases it. It is also noteworthy that the study was based not only on interviews but also on medical records.

A related study, published in the European Journal of Health, found similar results. This study monitored the mortality rates of 463,473 women who became pregnant between 1980 and 2004. The women were categorized as having either undergone a termination of pregnancy or carried their pregnancies to term.

The study found that women who had abortions were more likely to die within 10 years after their abortions than women who carried their pregnancies to term. Among the causes of death, suicide was a common factor.

A further study published in The British Medical Journal revealed that the incidence of suicide in women following childbirth was 5.9 per 100,000. Among women who had undergone an abortion, the rate was 34.7. The suicide rate for women who had not been pregnant was 11.3. Once again, the findings indicated that carrying a pregnancy to term was associated with a reduction in the suicide rate.

In a separate study, David C. Reardon of the Elliot Institute examined the experiences of 173,000 American women who became pregnant and then either terminated the pregnancy through abortion or carried the pregnancy to term. The survey followed the women for eight years after the pregnancy ended. Reardon’s findings indicated that women who underwent abortion were 154% more likely to commit suicide than women who gave birth. Another survey, cited by David Reardon in his book Aborted Women, Silent No More (Springfield, IL: Acorn Books, 2002), found that up to 60% of women who had abortions subsequently experienced suicidal feelings, with 28% attempting suicide.

A study published in the magazine Women’s World reported that 45% of women who had abortions expressed suicidal ideation following the procedure. (4) The risk of suicide is even higher among teenagers. One study found that teenage girls who had one or more abortions were 10 times more likely to commit suicide than those who never aborted. (5)
Another study indicated that the rate of psychiatric hospitalization for teenagers who had abortions was three times higher than that of other teenagers.

Statistics, however, provide only a partial representation of the phenomenon under investigation. While numerical data can be used to quantify certain aspects of the phenomenon, they are not always sufficient to convey the full range of experiences and emotions associated with it. For instance, a teenage girl identified as “Nelly R.” describes being coerced by her boyfriend into having an abortion. She states:

“I remember when they started the IV and how I looked up and told one of the nurses to tell me what was the sex of the baby and to tell the baby that I loved it and I had no choice. from there I don’t remember anything but when I woke up in the recovery room crying and checking my stomach to see if it was a horrible dream. I remember screaming from the top of my lungs and saying I wish I could die too. I fell into a deep depression and I bearly [sic] made it to senior year. I tried to commit suicide. I didn’t care for my self [sic] or anyone else at the time I was a murder.[sic] I remember going to the police station and saying that I had murdered someone and saying that I killed my own baby. I thought that I would never be happy again.”

Read her full testimony here.

In a subsequent episode of the John Ankerberg Show, another woman recounted her experience. She stated:

When I was examined the doctor said that he had been mistaken, the baby was far more advanced than he had thought, and that it was 15 weeks, and I was really just in shock. Within a minute, I was aborted, waited a few minutes, and then I got up to get dressed. And when I went over to the dressing room, I saw bucket of blood. And, my baby was in the bucket of blood, and the baby was not an inch big, the baby was as big as my hand, and it was a real baby. All I could think of was that I had murdered my baby… I started deteriorating emotionally that night. Over the next month, I cried, not normal cries, I cried from the bellows of the earth. I remember just leaning at the top of my staircase, just wishing I could throw myself down to the bottom. I remember thinking of jumping on the roof and jumping off. I thought of every method of suicide, I tried to consider doing. And I cried so deeply, so constantly, and so deeply, it was like the wail of a newborn baby when they cry and their fists are clenched, and they just cannot control the crying and somehow I thought I must. It was the most extraordinary crying I could ever see myself doing.”

Another woman who aborted twins said: 

“After aborting my boys, I was a wreck. I instantly had a nervous breakdown. I contemplated suicide because I had lost my will to live. I felt I needed to be with them and to help them somehow. I could hear them calling me at night reaching out to me, but I couldn’t touch them. I wanted out of my misery.”

Read her full story here. 

In a recent issue of The Postabortion Review newsletter published by the Elliot Institute, another woman recounted her abortion experience. She had her abortion at the age of 16 in 1977 and continues to experience distressing symptoms. After describing how the clinic “counselors” misled her about the development of the fetus, she stated:

I began to drink heavily and use drugs. I had severe depressions in which I contemplated suicide. I had, and still have, horrible nightmares involving babies and people trying to kill me. I still get depressed and cry a lot. I pray at night that God will let my baby know that I didn’t kill him because I hated him. I long to hold him so much now that it hurts, and I want him to know that.

I harbor secret fears that one of my children will be taken from me because of this horrible act that I have committed. This fear was compounded when I almost miscarried one of my children at twelve weeks. I feel sure the problem was connected to my abortion. The problems go on and on. I had never allowed myself to calculate the month that my baby would have been born. Recently I figured out when the baby would have been born and was horrified when I realized that it was within weeks of when both of my children were born. I had felt intense pressure from within myself to become pregnant at this particular time with both my children. And now the realization has hit me that subconsciously I have substituted my live children for my dead child, by conceiving and giving birth at the same times.

 I have spent many years trying to push the memory of what I have done to the back of my mind, but it won’t stay there. I have constantly compared my dead child to what he would have been doing had he lived. I understand that most women who choose to abort experience the same feelings. My child would have been in first grade this year. It’s very hard for me to look at a first grader.

I have shed many tears over the last few years and now I’m angry. I’m angry at myself, my family, the abortion clinic, their counselors, the doctors (who can commit murder on a daily basis), and most of all I’m mad at my government, who prints “IN GOD WE TRUST” on our coins, yet has legalized the daily painful, violent slaughter of the youngest members of our society.

Read her full testimony here. 

These are just four women out of countless thousands, perhaps even millions, who have contemplated suicide after abortion. It is false to claim that abortion can prevent suicide; statistics and personal testimony demonstrate that the opposite is true.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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