Does Abortion Solve the Child Abuse Problem?

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A common argument given in favor of abortion is that it is a solution to the problem of child abuse. If parents didn't want to have this baby, the reasoning goes, then they are more likely to abuse him. Abortion is thus a cure for child abuse.

Pro-Lifers typically reply that being killed is worse than being abused, and that there are families that would adopt this baby and who would truly love him.

But some recent sociological research indicates that the premise may be flawed. A 2005 study published in Acta Paediatrica found that women who had abortions were more likely to abuse or neglect their living children than women who had not.

A team of researchers led by Dr Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green University studied the cases of 518 women who were clients of social services agencies in Baltimore. They interviewed the women and visited their homes. Their results: women who had had abortions were 144% more likely to abuse their living children then women who had not had abortions. (They also found that women who had a miscarriage were 99% more likely to abuse their living children.)

The study concludes that social workers should consider past history of miscarriage and abortion in programs intended to combat child abuse and neglect.


The study is: Priscilla K. Coleman, Charles D. Maxey, Vincent M. Rue, and Catherine T. Coyle, "Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of pregnancy loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers," Acta Paediatrica 94, 2005. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2005.tb01823.x/full
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Posted 30 Oct 2005.

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