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Abortion unrelated to suicidal ideation

31 May 2018
The stigma women face for seeking multiple abortions made them feel ashamed, vulnerable and powerless.

The levels of suicidal ideation are low and comparable among women who underwent vs were denied abortion, according to a recent US study.

Across 30 abortion facilities, researchers recruited 956 women, of whom 413 had near-limit abortions (mean age 24.9±5.9 years), 160 carried their pregnancies to term (turnaway-birth; mean age 23.4±5.6 years), 50 had terminated pregnancies after being denied abortion (turnaway-no-birth; mean age 24.4±6.2 years) and 254 had first-trimester abortions (mean age 25.9±5.7 years).

The Brief Symptom Interview (BSI) and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) were used to evaluated suicidal ideation, while the Sheehan Suicidality Tracking Scale was used to assess imminent suicidality. Telephone interviews were conducted 1 week after the abortion visit, and every 6 months for 5 years.

Over the 5-year study period, the overall average rates of suicidal ideation, as defined by the BSI, were 0.94 percent, 0.67 percent, 0.68 percent and 0.88 percent for the near-limit abortion, turnaway-birth, turnaway-no-birth and first-trimester abortion groups, respectively.

The marginal predicted probability of suicidal ideation in the whole cohort dropped significantly from 1.68 percent at 1 week after the abortion visit to 0.27 percent at the 5-year follow-up (change, –1.41 percent; p<0.001).

Mixed-effects logistic regression analysis showed that, compared to the near-limit abortion group, women in the turnaway-birth (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.63; 95 percent CI, 0.17–2.34), turnaway-no-birth (adjusted OR, 1.07; 0.14–8.01) and first-trimester abortion (adjusted OR, 0.77; 0.28–2.14) had statistically comparable levels of suicidal ideation.

The findings indicate that “policies requiring that women be warned that they are at increased risk of becoming suicidal if they choose abortion are not evidence-based,” said researchers.

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Most Read Articles
6 days ago
Despite comparable efficacies, triamcinolone injections appear to be slightly superior over 5-fluorouracil injections for inducing keloid remission, a recent trial has found.
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