A study, published recently in the Acta Paediatrica journal suggests that women who have had an abortion could be up to two and a half times more likely to be child-abusers than their counterparts.
The study was led by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, who used data taken from a survey of 518 low-income women in Baltimore who received Aid to Families with Dependent Children and had at least one child aged 12 or younger.
Coleman then used the data to compare rates of child abuse and neglect among women who had experienced either an “involuntary (miscarriage or stillbirth) or voluntary (induced abortion) pregnancy loss.”
She found that women who had experienced an induced abortion were 2.4 times more likely to be abusive than those who had not. She also discovered a greater risk of abuse among women who had abortions over those who had stillborns or miscarriages.
The researchers said that "emotional difficulties and unresolved grief responses", either from voluntary or involuntary pregnancy loss can lead to negative health effects on women as well as negative parenting responses.
While the authors are admittedly unclear as to specific causes and the extent of the potential problem, they wrote that "regardless of the specific mechanisms at play, maternal history of one induced abortion does appear to be a marker for increased risk of physical abuse."