Andrea Mrozek

Andrea Mrozek

May 26, 2014
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – Women who have abortions face increased risk of divorce or separation, of marrying late or not at all, and of poor mental health, says a new report.

Abortion has a wide social impact, affecting relationships, sexuality, mental health and demographics, said the report, Interconnected: How Abortion Impacts Mothers, Families and Our Societies, written by The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC).

"It is not helpful to overstate negative ramifications of abortion," wrote IMFC executive director Andrea Mrozek. "However, by far the bigger concern Canadians face today is the problem of pretending there are none."

Mrozek said the report examines abortion effects that "remain substantially underpublicized."

The report cited a study showing divorce is more likely among women who have had abortion; among those over age 35 the study showed about 25 per cent are divorced or separated while only 19 per cent of "non-aborters" were.

Those who had had abortions were less likely to marry at all, were 37 per cent more likely to divorce; and had on average twice the number of sexual partners, according to the IMFC report. They had fewer children, began having sex at an earlier age and married later.

Abortion also caused subsequent sexual problems, according to some studies, the IMFC said. One study showed 33.7 per cent of women experienced a decrease in sexual desire after an abortion while 26.9 per cent reported decreased enjoyment.

MENTAL HEALTH

The IMFC paper also looked at a mother's mental health after abortion, and its impact on the family.

One study showed 10 to 30 per cent of women experience psychological difficulties as a result of abortion.

One meta-analysis in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed an "overall 81 per cent greater risk of mental health problems for women who had an abortion compared to those who did not."

The IMFC challenged a 2009 statement from the American Psychological Association (APA) that said "the relative risk of mental health problems among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy is no greater if they have an elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy."

Mrozek said the APA conclusion was based on only one study, and it did not look at studies outside the United States.

A psychologist in New Zealand found 42 per cent of women who had had abortions reported a major depression by age 25, the report said, while 39 per cent experienced anxiety disorders.

FEWER BENEFITS OR HIGHER TAXES

The report also warns of demographic changes that will soon lead to having more Canadians over age 65 than under 15. This could undermine the provision of social services.

"Something will have to change – either we have more children, or benefits will decrease, or taxes will rise."