Women’s Suicide Rates Highest After Abortion: New Study

Springfield, IL (Nov. 29, 2005) — Compared to women who have not been pregnant in the prior year, deaths from suicide, accidents and homicide are 248 percent higher in the year following an abortion, according to a new 13-year study of the entire population of women in Finland.

The study also found that majority of the extra deaths among women who had abortions were due to suicide. The suicide rate among women who had abortions was six times higher than that of women who had given birth in the prior year and double that of women who had miscarriages.

The epidemiological study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, was conducted by Finland’s National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health (STAKES). The researchers looked at data between 1987 and 2000 on all deaths among women of reproductive age (15 to 49).

While the risk of death from suicide, accidents, and homicide was highest among women who had abortions within the prior year, the risk of death was lowest among women who gave birth within the prior year, who had less than half the death rate of women who had not been pregnant. The risk of death following a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, however, did not significantly differ from the risk of death among non-pregnant women.

The new study confirms findings from previous record-based studies carried out in Finland and the United States that have found elevated risks of death among women who have abortions. A 1997 government-funded study in Finland found that aborting women were 3.5 times more likely to die within the next year compared to women who gave birth.

In addition, researchers examining death records linked to medical payments for birth and abortion for 173,000 California women found that aborting women were 62 percent more likely to die than delivering women over the eight year period examined. That study also found that the increase risk of death was most prominent from suicides and accidents, with a 154 percent higher risk of death from suicide and an 82 percent higher risk of death from accidental injuries.

The lead author of the California study, David Reardon, Ph.D., said that record-linkage studies are vital to getting an accurate picture of pregnancy-associated mortality rates. “In most cases, coroners simply have no way of knowing that the deceased recently had an abortion, which is why these new record linkage studies are so important,” he said.

Indeed, another recent study by government health officials in Finland found that 94 percent of maternal deaths associated with abortion could not be identified by looking at death certificates alone. This finding applies to the data published by the Centers for Disease Control in the United States.

Previous studies have also linked abortion to higher rates of substance abuse, anxiety, sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts, psychiatric illness, relationship problems, and risk-taking behavior, any of which may increase a women’s risk of death by suicide or accident. The authors of the new Finland study also speculated that there might be common risk factors between having an induced abortion and dying from an accidental injury, and called on medical professional to be aware of these risks.

“Women seeking abortions should be informed that abortion is associated with significant physical and mental health risks, and it also deprives them of numerous physical and mental health benefits associated with childbirth.” Reardon said. “It is especially important for health care providers to be aware of these risks and the risk factors which identify those women who are at highest risk. Providing women with the resources to help them resolve emotional issues relating to past abortions will not only increase their well-being but may possibly save their lives.”


M. Gissler et. al., “Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000,” European J. Public Health 15(5):459-63 (2005).

M Gissler et. al., “Pregnancy Associated Deaths in Finland 1987-1994 — definition problems and benefits of record linkage,” Acta Obsetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 76:651-657 (1997).

DC Reardon et. al., “Deaths Associated With Pregnancy Outcome: A Record Linkage Study of Low Income Women,” Southern Medical Journal 95(8):834-41 (2002).

M. Gissler, et. al., “Methods for identifying pregnancy-associated deaths: population-based data from Finland 19872000,” Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol 18(6): 448-55 (2004).


Women’s Suicide Rates Highest After Abortion: New Study — 11 Comments

  1. But if your data is true, all it says is that women who are in the position of having unwanted pregnancies have poorer health outcomes than women who are
    A) not pregnant B) pregnant and want to be – and therefore go through with their pregnancies. That’s not a surprise.
    Does anything show a causal link to abortion?
    Don’t you think questions like tis are important enough to get right, i.e. approach carefully and dispassionately?

    • The data irrefutably shows that there is some association between abortion and higher suicide rates. You can find more studies demonstrating this at http://www.AbortionRisks.org. The strongest evidence of a causal connection is the fact that self-aware, adult women attribute the rise of suicidal feelings and subsequent suicide attempts with their own post-abortion grief and self-blame. In many cases, this is in the form of very explicit suicide letters, as in the case of the well known British artist, Emma Beck.

      IF you don’t want to believe that abortion, or any other loss, can contribute to suicide, then no amount of evidence will convince you.

      • Can you send some links to any papers, rather than a whole website. I’m always ready to change my mind, but I need evidence.
        By stating “The strongest evidence of a causal connection is the fact that self-aware, adult women attribute the rise of suicidal feelings and subsequent suicide attempts with their own post-abortion grief and self-blame. In many cases, this is in the form of very explicit suicide letters” I’m not sure you are comparing like with like. The questions is, does abortion increase the risk of harm to women with unwanted pregnancies, relative to removing their choice, and forcing them to continue the pregnancy? We can always find examples of women in both groups (continue pregnancy group/don’t continue pregnancy group) who are distressed, and whilst we intuitively feel compassion this doesn’t mean it is overwhelming evidence.
        Already the largest killer of women in the post natal period in the UK is suicide – I’m not sure if this would be helped by banning abortion.
        A sensible approach is to allow carefully controlled early abortion, and work hard to prevent unwanted pregnancies by having a society that is open to contraception.
        You stated “IF you don’t want to believe that abortion, or any other loss, can contribute to suicide, then no amount of evidence will convince you.” I already believe that abortion can contribute to suicide, the question is what is the greater harm.

  2. Women struggle through each year of their life – wondering and thinking. Abortion hurts – a lot!
    The best thing to do is confess, forgive yourself and speak out for those women who don’t understand this…and for their babies.

  3. Hi Danielle
    If you come back to this website I just want you to know that I have been praying for you every night since you entered your message.

  4. Pingback: What About MY Freedom of Choice? - Page 9 - Christian Forums

  5. Dear Danielle,

    Please don’t read my book (a work of fiction) in your present state of grief. It is a rather dark tale in some ways and I would not want it to make you feel worse. I believe women are victims of abortion, so don’t blame yourself. I hope you find support quickly and follow Amy’s advice. I’ll pray for you to find peace.

  6. Contains a very salutary lesson to those pro-abortionists who close their minds to the fact that some women are mentally harmed by having abortions. It vindicates the stance I took in my recent novel “A Halo of Strawberries”.

      • Danielle, I am sorry about your experience. Please know that you are not alone and that there are those who can help — including other women who have been there. Please visit our healing page at http://afterabortion.org/?page_id=3718 for information on some of these groups and resources.

        You can also call a group called Option Line at 1-800-712-4357 for help. If you are feeling suicidal, please call them or the National Suicide Prevention (1-800-273-8255) hotline right away!

        Again, please don’t feel you have to go through this pain alone. There are many of us who care and want to help.

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