Abortion not a mental health risk for women
Women do not put their mental health at risk by having an abortion, according to an authoritative new study.
A wide-ranging review of research by the American Psychological Association (APA), one of the world’s most influential mental health bodies, found no evidence that the majority of abortions cause psychiatric problems.
The finding will undermine the campaign to tighten the UK’s abortion laws which if successful would make it harder for British women to obtain terminations.
Anti-abortion MPs have tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which is to be debated by the House of Commons in October.
The amendment would require all women to undergo counselling focusing on the psychiatric risks before they were allowed to have a termination.
The MPs who are trying to tighten the law cite research suggesting that depression and anxiety are more common among women who have had abortions.
But the APA report said the findings of such studies were unreliable.
The study found ‘no credible evidence’ that single abortions could directly cause mental health problems among adults with unwanted pregnancies – and that the evidence for the adverse psychiatric effects of multiple abortions was also weak.
Ann Furedi, chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said: ‘Abortion research is highly politicised, but large, high-quality studies consistently show that having an abortion does not result in psychological damage.’