New Study Shows Abortion Linked to More Mental Health Disorders for Women


There is a 50% increased risk of a first time psychiatric treatment in the year following a first abortion, according to a newly published reanalysis of Danish medical records. The elevated risk was highest (87% increased risk) for personality and behavioral disorders.

This study corrects the methodological errors of a previous analysis which reported that there were no differences in psychiatric treatment rates before and after a first abortion, according to the study’s author, David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute.

The previous study revealed the rate of first time mental health treatments was much higher after an abortion than after a live birth. But when the authors looked at the rates of first time psychiatric treatments during the nine months prior to an abortion, they found they were already higher for the group of women who would soon be seeking abortion.  Moreover, the authors reported that the rates of treatment during one, two, and three month periods after the abortion, while higher, were not statistically different than the rate reported in the nine months preceding abortion.

Based on these findings, the authors of the original study offered two conclusions.  First, the women who are most likely to have abortions are more likely to have preexisting mental health problems compared to women who carry to term. Second, the higher rates of mental health problems observed after abortion are entirely explained by preexisting tendencies toward more mental health problems.

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But Reardon, the author of over thirty studies examining abortions impact on women’s mental health, believed that the Danish study was an outlier.  It had numerous methodological limitations and was contradicted by several larger and better designed studies.  He was especially concerned by the authors’ focus on only one, two, and three month time periods.

“Research shows that the psychological effects of abortion are often delayed,” Reardon said, “and often don’t appear until the anniversary date of the abortion or even later, after a woman’s coping mechanisms begin to be overwhelmed by persistent grief, guilt, or other abortion related stressors.”

Among a long list of methodological problems identified in the study, Reardon noted that the authors had utilized a cumulative count of psychiatric contacts in the nine months prior to an abortion, they had failed to examine the cumulative counts in the nine months and the year following an abortion. Instead, by choosing to examine one month, two month, and three month periods their analysis introduced more statistical error, otherwise known as broader confidence intervals. That made it more likely that any differences before and after the abortion would be missed due to the smaller number of cases examined.

But when Reardon reanalyzed the data to examine the cumulative rates of mental health disorders over identical periods of time, nine months before and nine months after the abortion, the differences were statistically significant. Abortion was linked to higher rates of mental illness among the same group of women studied by the original Danish research team. The differences became even greater when examined over twelve months, indicating that the cumulative mental health effects of abortion increase over time.

Reardon believes that the negative mental health effects of abortion were deliberately concealed in the prior study precisely to provide “evidence” contradicting the growing body of research linking abortion to mental health problems.

“Many population control and abortion advocates are ideologically and politically motivated to deny the studies showing that many women suffer from unwanted and unsafe abortions,” said Reardon. “Misleading research findings are not uncommon.”

Reardon’s reanalysis was originally submitted to The New England Journal of Medicine, which published the original and widely publicized Danish analysis. But Reardon’s reanalysis was immediately rejected without peer review.

“One would think that medical journals would welcome critical reviews and reanalyses that help to improve and clarify the medical record,” Reardon said, “but when it comes to abortion, most journals are afraid to publish anything that challenges the myth that abortion is anything but always beneficial to every woman in every circumstance.”


Reardon DC. A Reanalysis of Mental Disorders Risk Following First-Trimester Abortions in Denmark. Issues Law Med 2024;39:66–75.

Reardon DC, Longbons T. Effects of Pressure to Abort on Women’s Emotional Responses and Mental Health. Cureus. 2023 Jan 31;15(1):e34456

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