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Don't belittle abortion's impact

Last updated 09:27 19/09/2012

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

"If we stopped all this anti- contraceptive nonsense, abortions wouldn't even be necessary" (Reid Wicks, September 5).

But, in fact, in New Zealand and in many other countries, contraceptive use has increased along with the number of abortions. This is because abortion has come to be seen as the ultimate contraceptive.

"I've seen photos of an abortion, and it was the least disturbing thing I've ever seen. Like red dye in a jar."

Mr Wicks needs to realise that his belittling of abortion is belittling of an experience which, according to Professor David Fergusson, leader of a research team at Canterbury University in Christchurch, significantly increased women's chances of experiencing major depression, substance abuse, anxiety and suicidal behaviour.

"Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47 (1): 16-24 (2006).

Professor Fergusson's team has tracked a group of young women since childhood.

When interviewed about the findings, Professor Fergusson described himself as a pro-choice atheist, so accusations of "anti- choice bias" could not be levelled at him. He said that New Zealand's Abortion Supervisory Committee had urged him not to publish the findings.

Further "it verges on scandalous that a surgical procedure that has been performed on over one in 10 women has been so poorly researched and evaluated, given the debates about the psychological consequences of abortion," Professor Fergusson said.

BRIAN QUIN, Heretaunga

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- Upper Hutt Leader

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