Pseudo-Science Study Linking Abortion and Mental Health Problems Is Called False
The far right think tanks and anti abortion groups have been commissioning pseudo-scientific studies and papers for publication in vanity journals and other places for a couple of decades to use as backing for bills to limit abortion. This is just one of them, there are many others that need debunking as well. Prior to this it was “Fetal Pain” until that was also thoroughly debunked. [Also see here.]
You can bet that right now there are zealots commissioning more pseudo science studies to serve as new vehicles for laws to limit abortion. It’s time for the scientific community to start responding faster and more firmly when confronted with these religion driven lies, just as they do when Discovery Institute shills attack evolution or global warming.
In looking for mental health disorders (like panic attacks, depression, substance abuse and post traumatic stress disorder) associated with abortion, Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University and her co-authors included all lifetime mental health disorders in their analysis, rather than only those instances occurring after the abortion took place. They were “hoping,” she says in a letter defending her methodology, “to capture as many cases of mental health problems as possible,” by including a longer period of time. In a detailed re-analysis of the (publicly available) data used in the study, Julia Steinberg of the University of California at San Francisco and Lawrence Finer of the Guttmacher Institute found what they called, in a letter to the journal’s editors, “untrue statements about the nature of the dependent variables and associated false claims about the nature of the findings.”
“This is not a scholarly difference of opinion,” Dr. Steinberg said. “Their facts were flatly wrong. This was an abuse of the scientific process to reach conclusions that are not supported by the data.”
Dr. Coleman’s work has been used to support state laws in seven states (Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia) requiring that women seeking an abortion be counseled regarding its negative psychological effects. A similar analysis of data in Denmark (reported last year in the British Journal of Medicine) found no support for the hypothesis that abortion increased the risk of mental disorders.
More on Priscilla Coleman here