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25 / 04 / 2008 - UK - As abortions continue to rise, violence against children and babies `soars`
Violence against babies and young children in England and Wales more than doubled last year, a survey of accident and emergency unit data suggests.
The Cardiff University study indicates the number of under-10s who were hurt rose from 3,805 to 8,067 in 2006. [ See Violence against children 'soars' - BBC NEWS ]
In the same year the numbers of abortion also rose, from 186,416 to 193,737, up 3.9%
Various studies around the world have found that abortion is linked to higher rates of child abuse.
According to a study published in the Internet Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology, a history of abortion is associated with more frequent acts of physical aggression toward subsequent children,
Priscilla Coleman, a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University and lead author of the study, suggested that the link between abortion and child abuse may be influenced by a number of key factors, including unresolved grief, having felt pressured into an unwanted abortion, and disruption in maternal bonding with subsequently born children.
Unresolved grief issues, Coleman noted, "may negatively impact parental responsiveness to child needs, trigger anger, which is a common component of grief, and/or increase parental anxiety regarding child well-being." Some research indicates that grief may be more difficult to resolve if women undergo an unwanted abortion due to pressure from others. In one study, cited by Coleman, 64 percent of American women with a history of abortion reported feeling pressured to abort by others.
Dr. David Reardon, director of the Elliot Institute and a leading researcher who has been involved in more than a dozen studies on the impact of abortion on women, said that this study confirms the general findings of previous studies linking abortion with a higher risk of abuse or neglect.
"Previous research has also shown that abortion is linked with a subsequent increased risk of alcoholism, drug use, anxiety, rage, anger and psychiatric hospitalization," Reardon said. "Any of these factors, individually or in combination, can significantly increase the personal and family stresses that can lead to maltreatment or neglect."
Coleman's team suggested that professionals should be aware of the links between abortion and maternal mental health problems and "sensitively inquire about any history of abortion and related, unresolved negative emotions when working with women engaged in or at risk for aberrant parenting."
The authors concluded that while additional research is always needed, there can no longer be any doubt that abortion significantly impacts the health of women and their families.
"For years, abortion was construed to be a benign medical procedure carrying little if any potential for lasting adverse effects," they wrote. "However ... the last several years have brought greater understanding that abortion for many women is an issue with profound physical, psychological, spiritual and lifestyle dimensions that are intimately tied to many aspects of their lives."
New Study Links Abortion to Increased Risk of Child Abuse
Abortion Linked to Higher Rates of Child Abuse, Study Finds
Abortion and Child Abuse - David C. Reardon
The Character of Post Abortion Syndrome - David C. Reardon
Abortion & Increased Risk of Child Abuse: Child Maltreatment and Perinatal Loss (AP, 2005)