Study flawed

In his column (Jan. 18 Tribune), Dr. Richard French cited a study by Priscilla Coleman (not Patricia) linking abortion to higher rates of mental illness.

Previous research found a lower rate of psychiatric illness after abortion (Nada Stotland, M.D., “The Myth of the Abortion Trauma Syndrome,” Journal of the American Medical Association; Oct. 21, 1992). The American Psychological Association found no connection between abortion and mental health problems in women (Brenda Major, Ph.D., et al., Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, 2008). A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found an increase in mental health problems for women who gave birth (Gene Emery, “Early abortions don’t trigger psychiatric problems,” Reuters; Jan. 26, 2011).

Coleman’s research was reported in the mainstream media (Ryan Jaslow, “Abortion tied to sharp decline in women’s mental health,” CBS News; Sept. 1, 2011). An editor-in-chief for the Journal of Psychiatric Research noted Coleman’s research was flawed (Sharon Begley, “Journal disavows study touted by U.S. abortion foes,” Reuters; March 7, 2012). Coleman admitted her research contained statistical errors by including women who had mental problems before an abortion (Alexandra Sifferlin, “Study linking abortion to mental health problems is flawed,” Time; March 8, 2012).

Life is an unalienable right but so is liberty. An abortion can save a woman’s life (e.g., ectopic pregnancy). Still, freedom has limitations. Connie Consbruck falsely claimed Roe v. Wade legalized abortion “in all nine months … for any reason” (Jan. 18 Tribune). Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the first trimester (Thomas Patterson, The American Democracy, 1999; page 101). However, the Supreme Court allowed states to restrict abortions in the second and third trimesters, including for the protection of fetal life (Paul Boyer, ed., The Oxford Companion to United States History, 2001; page 672).

Andrew Kehr
Hastings



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