Restricting abortion may increase suicide rate

Restricted abortion and limited access to reproductive health services may be responsible for the increased suicide rates among young women. According to People, a new study published Wednesday by JAMA Psychiatry has revealed.

Increased rates of suicide, stress and anxiety

According to People, the study analyzed 21 states that enforced “at least one Targeted Abortion Providers Regulation (TRAP) law” between 1974 and 2016. Plus, the study found more than 1,300 attempts to limit abortion.

Between those years, the “average annual suicide rate for women of reproductive age” had increased by nearly 6% compared with the years before trap implementation. In addition, restrictions on abortion services lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety among women.

Stress is associated with an increased mental health burden, and conversely, with an increased risk of suicide.

The results show that young women are more effective than older women

According to Dr Ran Barzilay, one of the study’s authors, this is “the first work of its kind” to show a link between abortion restrictions and suicide rates among young women.

The researchers were unable to determine that abortion restrictions had the same effect on older women. And note that the impact is seen specifically on young women affected by the 1974-2016 TRAP legislation. According to NBC News, the researchers ruled out other factors such as the economy or the political environment as catalysts for the increased suicide rate.

“Mental health care and support needs”

An additional editorial was published by Tyler VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. It shared that the TRAP law may also have been responsible for 127 suicides among women in 2016. The rising suicide rate among women is “a cause for clinical concern,” he added.

According to VanderWeele, the data shows “need for support” and “mental health care”. He believes both are far beyond what is currently being offered in the country.

TRAP law and travel time for abortion

According to Nichole Austin, assistant professor of epidemiology at Dalhousie University, the TRAP law can be “a bit ridiculous”. Laws can dictate everything from the size of the procedure room to the width of the hallways in the abortion facility, to the temperature in the building.

As NBC News reports, the TRAP law could extend travel times to abortion facilities. And even caused some to close permanently. Both options pose serious inconveniences to women.

Instead of maybe going 5 miles to an abortion provider, maybe your state passed some TRAP laws and your nearest provider closed. So as a result you find yourself going 50 miles.

Another study published by JAMA Psychiatry further illustrated the link between the time it took to reach an abortion and the stress levels of young women. It determined that the average travel time to abortion facilities had increased from 30 minutes in 2021 to 100 minutes in September.

The percentage of women living more than an hour away from an abortion facility also increased from 15% to 33% during that period.

Although Barzilay believes more research is needed on the topic, he shared a brief statement about the stress caused by reduced access to abortion.

What makes people who want to have an abortion stressed? It’s the loss of this option to do that.


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