Pro-lifers and pro-choicers are at each other's throats again, this time over a new study on abortion and mental health.
A controversial new study is making the rounds online due to its conclusion that women who get abortions don’t suffer any mental health problems as a result, but they do have mental health issues if they are denied an abortion. The study comes in the wake of new laws being introduced in parts of the country that restrict abortions, frequently on the grounds that women suffer from depression, flashbacks and suicidal thoughts when they get an abortion.
The study, published this week in the journal JAMA Pschiatry, found that women who had an abortion weren’t at any greater risk of long term depression or anxiety five years after the fact. On the flip side, women who were denied abortion services because they were past the gestational limits as required by law felt greater anxiety and lower self esteem due to the fact that they had to confront a new reality of their lives where they would have to give birth to and raise a baby they didn’t want.
The study is based on examinations of 1,000 women at 30 abortion clinics in 21 states. It isn’t likely to change people’s minds, but it adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests mental health problems aren’t a concern when it comes to abortions. Despite this, many states print these claims as fact in pamphlets to deter women from seeking abortions, critics say.
“Thus, there is no evidence to justify laws that require women seeking abortion to be forewarned about negative psychological responses. Women considering abortion are best served by being provided with the most accurate, scientific information available to help them make their pregnancy decisions. These findings suggest that the effect of being denied an abortion may be more detrimental to women’s psychological well-being than allowing women to obtain their wanted procedures,” the article concludes.