Media Trumpets Biased and Problematic Abortion-Mental Health Study (w/ UPDATED info)

January 27th, 2011 9:34 PM

Several media outlets are trumpeting a recent study out of Denmark that asserts that having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems for women. Yet there are serious problems with the study that major media are not reporting:

1. The Danish study flies in the face of over 30 professional studies just in the past five years that conclude that there is a serious negative mental health impact on women who have abortions. The list of those studies is at the site of the Elliot Institute, Not one major media outlet reported this.

2. The study was funded in part by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, which as the Associated Press reported, "supports abortion rights organizations and projects." The Los Angeles Times conveniently omitted this fact in its article.

3. Matthew Cullinan Hoffman at has reported (see important UPDATE below) that the study has been found to have "major problems."

Dr. Priscilla Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University and an expert in the link between abortion and mental illness, studied the report and concluded that the study's own data "indicate that rates of mental health problems are significantly higher after abortion compared to after childbirth (15.2% vs. 6.7%) and compared to not having been pregnant (8.2%)."

In other words, as Hoffman reports, "The authors [of the Danish study] found that women who underwent abortions were almost three times more likely to seek psychiatric help for the first time in their lives during the nine months before and twelve months after the procedure, than women who gave birth. However, the authors did not regard the results as suggesting a causal relationship between abortion and mental illness" (emphasis added).

After 200,000+ people showed up in Washington D.C. earlier this week for the 37th annual March for Life, the Boston Globe did not devote a single syllable to the story. And while ignoring so many studies that do connect adverse mental health and abortion (like this one), the Globe blares this bleary study from Denmark.

One-sided journalism? Yup.

[UPDATE, 1/28/11, 6pm EST: It turns out that was the first to exclusively report Dr. Coleman's findings about the faulty Danish study - even the day before the study was publicly released. published Dr. Coleman's article on Wednesday, 1/26/11: "New Study Denying Abortion-Mental Health Link Contains Flaws." There is also Dr. Coleman's article about the 30+ studies. In addition, published another article earlier today (1/28/11), "Women Who Had Abortions: Latest Mental Health Study Bogus," which further slams the wobbly study.]


-- Dave Pierre is the author of the book, Double Standard: Abuse Scandals and the Attack on the Catholic Church. Dave is also the creator of and is a contributing writer to NewsBusters.