Adolescent women experience far graver risks of mental and emotional health problems from abortion than they do by carrying their “unintended pregnancies” to term, according to a new U.S. study. The study, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescents, proves that abortion, not the “unintended pregnancy,” causes severe mental health problems in young women.

The research conducted by Dr. Priscilla Coleman, a research psychologist at Bowling Green State University, evaluated adolescent women with “unintended pregnancies.” She discovered that those adolescents who aborted their unintended pregnancies were fives times more likely to seek help for psychological and emotional problems afterwards than those adolescent women who carried their pregnancies to term. Coleman also found that adolescents who had abortions were subsequently more than three times more likely to experience trouble sleeping and were nine times more likely to report marijuana use after their abortions.

In the federally funded study, adolescents participated in two series of interviews, in 1995 and 1996. Nearly 76 per cent of girls who had abortions and 80 per cent of girls who gave birth fell between the ages of 15 and 19 during the survey. The remainder were 14 and younger.

In her report, Coleman stated, “When women feel forced into abortion by others or by life circumstances, negative post-abortion outcomes become more common.” She added, “Adolescents are generally much less prepared to assume the responsibility of parenthood and are logically the recipients of pressure to abort … The scientific evidence is now strong and compelling. Abortion poses more risks to women than giving birth.”

The uniqueness of Coleman’s study, however, hinges on her exclusive evaluation of adolescent women with “unintended pregnancies.” Abortion advocates have dismissed previous studies on the detrimental effects of abortion on women’s health, claiming that those studies could not prove that the serious psychological harm was done by the unintended pregnancy, rather than the subsequent abortion.

Dr. David Reardon, a researcher with the Elliot Institute, who has also contributed to more than a dozen studies examining psychological outcomes after abortion, affirmed the importance of the “wantedness” of pregnancies in Coleman’s study.

“Over the last six years, numerous studies have conclusively linked higher rates of mental illness and behavioural problems associated with abortion compared to childbirth,” said Reardon. “But abortion advocates have generally dismissed these findings, insisting that while women who abort may fare worse than women who give birth to planned children, they may fare better than the important subgroup of women who carry unintended pregnancies to term. Coleman’s study addresses this argument and shows that the facts don’t support abortion advocates’ speculations.”

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks U.S. abortion statistics, every year nearly a quarter of all abortions are committed on girls less than 20 years old. The study serves to reinforce the warnings of pro-life advocates about the psychological toll abortion is taking on women worldwide.

In a press release, Family Life International spokesman Brendan Malone warned, “If we don’t take urgent action on this issue then we will have to deal with some very serious and costly social and psychological health problems in the coming years.”

This article originally appeared on the August 18 at and is reprinted with permission.