The original study, conducted by Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University in Kentucky, has been a source of contention since its publication in 2009, when critics pointed out flaws in the statistical analysis. Those errors triggered a correction by Coleman and her colleagues, but outside researchers found other problems with the paper. Most importantly, they report in the February issue of the journal, the original researchers included mental health ailments not only after abortion, but all across the life span, making it impossible to know whether the psychological problems came before or after the procedure.
"This is not a scholarly difference of opinion; their facts were flatly wrong. This was an abuse of the scientific process to reach conclusions that are not supported by the data," study researcher Julia Steinberg, an assistant professor in the University of California, San Francisco's department of psychiatry, said in a statement. "The shifting explanations and misleading statements that they offered over the past two years served to mask their serious methodological errors."