A widely debated topic is whether there is such thing as “post-abortion syndrome”, or if some psychological disorders exist only after induced abortions. A recent study on this subject (see HERE) has concluded that, while some women do develop psychological disorders after an abortion, there is no medical evidence that “post-abortion syndrome” exists abortion psychological side effects.
Mental side effects
In 1989, the American College of Surgeons stated that “the scientific studies do not provide conclusive data about the health effects of abortion (see HERE)”, and “recommend that consideration be given to going forward with an appropriate prospective study”. Now, a well-founded prospective study has been published that assessed possible side effects in women who had had an abortion and in others who had been denied one, five years after the fact. The study included 956 women, with average age 24.9 years.
The study showed that the group of women who were denied abortions had more anxiety, less life satisfaction and similar levels of depression than the group of women who had had the procedure.
The authors concluded that women who were denied an abortion had more psychological problems than those who aborted, but that these side effects became similar in both groups over time. Thus, they consider that policies aimed at restricting abortion, based on possible negative side effects on the health of women who have aborted, should not be promoted. We at the Bioethics Observatory unquestionably defend our position against abortion from any point of view considered. Nevertheless, we continue to publish these articles which, scientifically based, seem to provide findings in favour of abortion, although these are not significantly adequate to dismiss the negative ethical assessment that abortion merits.
We at the Bioethics Observatory unquestionably defend our position against abortion from any point of view considered. Nevertheless, we continue to publish these articles which, scientifically based, seem to provide findings in favour of abortion, although these are not significantly adequate to dismiss the negative ethical assessment that abortion merits.
Other previously published studies*, however, have reached conclusions contrary to those presented in the aforementioned article.
Specifically, a comprehensive review conducted by PK Coleman concluded that:
– Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of experiencing mental health problems compared to those who have not had an abortion.
– The likelihood of anxiety in these women is 34% higher.
– The likelihood of depression is 37% higher.
– They are 110% more likely to abuse alcohol.
– They are 220% more likely to use marijuana.
– Ten percent of women who suffer some mental health disorder have undergone an abortion prior to the onset of clinical symptoms.
Thus, on her review paper, Coleman says that: “The literature contained a great deal of conflicting data regarding the basic question of whether or not abortion increases the risk for mental health problems.Recent years have however ushered in large-scale, methodologically sophisticated studies, some of which were reviewed in the introduction segment of this article. These studies have now clearly established an increased risk for a variety of mental health problems in conjunction with abortion”.
- * Coleman PK. Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995-2009. The British Journal of Psychiatry 2011; 199: 180-186.