Women’s News: Is South Dakota wrong to tell women that abortion could lead to suicide?

Hey Everyone, I really need your opinion on this story. Thanks, Kim

An appeals court inspires fury by ruling that women seeking abortions must be warned of an increased risk of suicide — despite shaky evidence of that link

A South Dakota appeals court ruled this week that doctors must tell women seeking abortions that they could be more prone to kill themselves if they have the procedure — even though the supposed link between abortion and suicide is based on arguably bogus evidence. The appeals court ruled 7-4 that conclusive proof of causation was not required, enraging abortion-rights activists who argue that the new rule puts an added burden on women seeking abortions — which would be unconstitutional according toRoe v. Wade. Has South Dakota gone too far? Here, a guide:

First off: What’s the connection between abortion and suicide?
The anti-abortion groups championing the ruling cite two “widely circulated studies that found an ‘increased’ suicide risk” among women who had abortions, says Kay Steiger at The Raw Story. But there’s a problem: The studies did not determine “that abortion caused the increased risk.” In fact, the American Psychological Association called the link “misleading,” stating that “the best scientific evidence indicates that the relative risk of mental health problems among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy is no greater if they have an elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver [the baby].”

What does the court say?
Judge Raymond Gruender wrote that “various studies found this correlation to hold,” and added that “there is nothing in the record to suggest that abortion as a cause [of suicidal thoughts] has been ruled out with certainty. As a result, the disclosure of the observed correlation as an ‘increased risk’ is not unconstitutionally misleading or irrelevant.”

Can abortion-rights groups fight the ruling?
No. “Tuesday’s ruling was the final piece in the fight over the law’s constitutionality,” says Kristi Eaton at The Associated Press.

Will this stop women from getting abortions?
Time will tell. And remember, South Dakota “has spent the last few years making access to abortion the most taxing and violating experience ever,”says Feministing. It was also the first state to have an informed consent law — which requires abortion providers to give women certain information before they undergo the procedure — and last year mandated the longest waiting period in the nation, 72 hours, and a meeting at an anti-abortioncounseling center before a woman can get an abortion, says David Bailey atReuters.

Sources: The Associated PressFeministingThe Raw StoryReuters,The Wall Street Journal


  1. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!!!!

  2. Funny how planned parenthood is out and pregnancy is in. Funny too how nobody tells women that delivering a baby has a high probability of causing postpartum depression and risk of suicide. Crap. We’re back in Victorian society. We’ll just have to live through this too.

  3. What about women who commit suicide because they could not have an abortion, and have it very early in their pregnancy? I have no proof, but it would be my opinion that a late abortion could foster feelings of guilt and that waiting for the abortion could harm a woman.

  4. Sounds like Gruender is anti-choice and now North Dakota will have an exorbitant number of abortions performed there instead.

  5. The fact that government is so involved in almost every aspect of a women’s life really, really pisses me off. This is beyond wrong, and beyond the reach government should have over us.

  6. This is ridiculous. The government is so concerned with the “life” of the fetus but when that fetus is born there’s a lack of assistance for them from childhood through adulthood when they are the result of unplanned pregnancy in a poverty (or near poverty) stricken household. And I even use the term “household” lightly.

  7. I can’t speak to this issue precisely. All I know is that every woman I know who has had an abortion lives with a certain amount grief and guilt even many years later. It’s no small matter.

  8. Answer: Yes.

    Getting married, going to school (and getting bullied), socialising a lot, doing a challenging degree (2 suicides per year at Oxford University’s law school) and giving birth all could lead to suicide and have led to suicide. They continue to lead to suicide. Should we stay home with no education, not study Law or Medicine, and have few friends, too? And giving birth to a baby also causes suicide if you are anxious/depressed, it was an unplanned preganancy or a result of rape, incest or coercion, or you were forced by your family not to have an abortion.

  9. In order to reach an informed decision, women who have had abortions must volunteer the fact that they had an abortion, which will never happen until society stops condemning them. I probably know more than one woman who had an abortion, but the one I know for sure had an abortion (actually two) said she was glad, glad, glad she did, no regrets. I don’t believe for an instant that any studies involving women who have had abortions can be conclusive or accurate, at least not until my sisters can feel free to come out of their closets and feel free to share their experiences without judgment.

  10. I am astounded to be honest…. They really should think again! Suicide links that are un-proven and have no solid basis are not a good enough reason to make this so hard for women. its hard enough for them as it is!

    To leave no exceptions ie those who are carrying the child of their rapist or those who for medical reasons are better having an abortion or is it across the board?

    I am just astounded and hope that we here in the UK never try to follow suit!

  11. I’m definitely pro-life, but using messy statistics to try to scare people is the wrong approach. A lot of women have written about having regrets and wonder about the child that might have been born, so I think that’s where they’re getting this depression thing, plus some unfounded research.

    It’s worth looking at, though.

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