“Having an Abortion Doesn’t Lead to Depression” declares the Times.com headline. It’s a catchy title, but it oversimplifies (misrepresents, some might say) the results of the study it purportedly reports. The study was conducted by Danish researchers, and its results were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine under the more subdued title “Induced First-Trimester Abortion and Risk of Mental Disorder.”

So it’s not just any abortion that doesn’t lead to mental disorders. According to the abstract: “The finding that the incidence rate of psychiatric contact was similar before and after a first-trimester abortion does not support the hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders after a first-trimester induced abortion .”

It’s a catchy abstract, but it oversimplifies (misrepresents, some might say) the actual research. The Danish researchers recorded only the incidences of women and girls who have sought “psychiatric contact” within the twelve months after their first abortion. So, strictly speaking, the researchers are correct in their conclusion: Their research—funded by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, a big abortion supporter—does not support the hypothesis that abortion increases the risk of mental disorder.

But to reach that conclusion they had to strictly limit the subjects they researched. Women who suffer mental problems but don’t seek medical help, women whose mental disorders present later than a year after their abortions, and women who have had multiple abortions were excluded from the study.

As Georgette Forney, co-founder of Silent No More Awareness Campaign , noted, “It’s as if the people who designed this report set it up to exclude women at the greatest risk to suffer post-abortion problems.” It certainly does seem that way.

Articles by Meghan Duke

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