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Abortion Study Assesses Impact After Two Years

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Black inner-city teenagers who had abortions were more likely to stay in school and were better off economically two years after the procedure than their peers who decided to give birth, a new study has found.

The study also found that girls who had abortions were no more likely to have psychological problems than were those who gave birth.

The study, conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, involved 334 urban, black, unmarried teenagers age 17 and younger who visited two Baltimore clinics in 1985 and 1986 for pregnancy tests.

The girls were divided into groups of those who were not pregnant, those who had had an abortion, and those who had given birth. The researchers followed the groups for two years.

The study also found that girls who had an abortion were less likely to have a subsequent pregnancy, and were more likely to use contraception consistently than girls in the other two groups.

They were also more likely to be high-school graduates or to still be in school at the appropriate grade level.

Nearly half of the more than 1 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who become pregnant each year choose to have an abortion. They account for more than one-quarter of all abortions performed annually.

Csaba Vedlik, director of legislative affairs for 'American Life Lobby, said the study sends a "very callous message" to teenagers.

"It encourages teenagers to engage in promiscuous activities," he said. Mr. Vedlik added that he felt the report "ignored all the studies on post-abortion syndrome."

The study appears in the November/December issue of Family Planning Perspectives, which was released last month. The journal is published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is affiliated with the pro-choice Planned Parenthood.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Ford Foundation.--EF

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