December 10, 2022

More controversy over mental health and abortion

Another controversial review of the mental health risks of abortion has been published, this time in the peer-reviewed Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. The authors of “Does abortion reduce the mental health risks of unwanted or unintended pregnancy? A re-appraisal of the evidence” argue that abortion may be a mental health risk.

They contend that the evidence shows that abortion is not associated with a reduction in rates of mental health problems, and is associated with increases in risks of anxiety, alcohol and drug misuse, and suicidal behavior. They warn that “the growing evidence suggesting that abortion does not have therapeutic benefits cannot be ignored indefinitely, and it is unacceptable for clinicians to authorize large numbers of abortions on grounds for which there is, currently, no scientific evidence.”

This could have important social policy consequences, they warn. Well over 90% of abortions in Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere are done “on the grounds that continuation of the pregnancy would pose a serious threat to the woman’s mental health”. If an abortion would pose an even greater threat, the rationale for legal abortion would be undermined.

“It is our view that the growing evidence suggesting that abortion does not have therapeutic benefits cannot be ignored indefinitely, and it is unacceptable for clinicians to authorize large numbers of abortions on grounds for which there is, currently, no scientific evidence.”

Michael Cook
Creative commons
abortion
mental health