Restricted abortion access is associated with heightened suicide risk among younger women, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia conducted an analysis using state-level data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on adult women from 1974 to 2016.
Study crafters incorporated laws restricting reproductive care into the analysis and compared the suicide rates among women before and after those laws were enforced.
Researchers said they found a link between enforcing laws restricting abortion access and an increased risk for women of reproductive age, particularly those 20 to 34 years old. They did not find such a risk for older women, according to the study.
The study findings show that the annual suicide rate among women between the ages of 20 and 34 in the years where restrictive abortion laws were enforced was 5.81 percent higher compared to years before enforcement.
The study’s findings were published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, a monthly peer-reviewed medical journal from the American Medical Association.
Researchers acknowledged there are limitations to the study’s findings, like the lack of access to data on the mental health of individual women.
“We’re looking at the connection between summary data about causes of death at the state level and policy and politics over many decades. Yet every death represents an individual moment of tragedy,” said Rebecca Waller, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s department of psychology and co-author of the study.
“There’s clearly an awful lot more that we need to understand about what these findings mean for individual suicide risk.”
The findings add to existing research surrounding restrictive abortion access and increased negative mental health consequences for women.
In the Turnaway Study, the landmark study that followed the long-term impact of having or being denied an abortion, women who were denied an abortion reported having more anxiety and stress as well as poorer self-esteem and life satisfaction than those who received one.
I agree, for young women who don't know what to do and an non-understanding family, there might seem to be no other alternative. I've been there, but luckily one understanding family member worked at Planned Parenthood and so I received counseling and a path forward. I shudder to think what happens to girls for whom there seems to be no counsel for a path forward.
Try telling that to the rabid anti-abortion monsters that infest much of the southern U$A.
What a surprise!!
In the mid 60's a friend of mine had to have an abortion. At that time I remember the cost was $400. That was a helluva lot of money for a young lady who only made $300/month. She had gotten pregnant by a man she didn't know was married. When her parents found out, they threw her out of the house. She was completely distraught.
I let her move in with me and went with her for the abortion. It was a terrifying experience steeped in secrecy and subterfuge. Fortunately she was ok, but it's unconscionable that any woman should have to go through this. We fought like hell in the 60's for women's rights and I can't believe we're doing it again. WTF is WRONG with people? I remember Gloria Steinem saying "if men could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament"
I fear that to most of the anti-A persons, increase in suicide is a feature, not a bug.