Article on post-abortive women needs more info


This, from LifeSite News:

A new study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology has found that women with a history of induced abortion are three times more likely to use illegal drugs during a subsequent pregnancy. The study supports a growing body of evidence which suggests later pregnancies may arouse unresolved grief over prior abortions which women may seek to suppress by increased reliance on drugs and alcohol.

I agree with the notion that induced abortion probably increases abuse of drugs and alcohol during later pregnancies, but the article that describes (but does not link to) the study says nothing of whether the study controlled for drug and alcohol abuse prior to the abortion.

Here are three theories that are all plausible explanations of drug use among women who have had abortions depending on the rate of drug use among women before they have abortions

  1. These post-abortive women may have used drugs and alcohol at a lower rate during or before their preganancy which resulted in an abortion In this case the theory offered in this article, that unresolved grief leads women to be depressed and turn to drugs and/or alcohol.

  2. These women may have used drugs and alcohol at the same rate before or during the aborted pregnancy. In this case, the explanation may be simply that women with substance abuse habits are more likely to have abortions.

  3. They may have used drugs and alcohol at a higher rate before or during the aborted pregnancy. In this case, it could be argued that the abortion was actually somehow a positive experience as evidenced by the decrease in the rate of drug or alcohol abuse during a subequent pregnancy. In this case, their rates of substance abuse may still be higher than non-post-abortive women depending on how bad the rate of abuse was before the abortion.

If the latter two scenarios are the case, then pro-choice advocates would unfortunately applaud the figures. For - as in the second case above - if women with substance abuse habits have more abortions, they would say that lessens the risk that children would be born with certain birth defects, and that those women would be unfiot mothers anyway. Or - as in the third case above - if women abuse drugs less following an abortion, they could say - as I noted - that the abortion was somehow a positive experience.

There is not a doubt in my mind that the first case is more likely true, but without the statistics that say what these women's drug and alcohol habits were before the abortion, we have no way of knowing the truth, and a press release claiming that post-abortive women abuse more drugs than non post-abortive women gives an incomplete picture of the situation and raises more questions than it answers.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on July 14, 2005 8:44 AM.

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