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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Abortion 'does not raise' mental health risk

By Jane Dreaper, 
Health correspondent, BBC News
Abortion does not raise the risk of a woman suffering mental health problems, a major review by experts concludes.
Data from 44 studies showed women with an unwanted pregnancy have a higher incidence of mental health problems in general.
This is not affected by whether or not they have an abortion or give birth.
But anti-abortion campaigners said the review sought to "minimise" the psychological effect of terminating a pregnancy.
Experts from the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) used the same research methods they use to assess evidence on other mental health issues for NICE.
The work - funded by the Department of Health - came after concerns that abortion may adversely affect a woman's mental health.
Usually, a woman's risk of suffering common disorders such as anxiety or depression would be around 11-12%.
But the researchers said this rate was around three times higher in women with unwanted pregnancies.
'Equal risks'
The director of NCCMH, Prof Tim Kendall, said: "It could be that these women have a mental health problem before the pregnancy.
Whether these women have abortions or give birth, their risk of mental health problems will not increase”
"On the other hand, it could be the unwanted pregnancy that's causing the problem.
"Or both explanations could be true. We can't be absolutely sure from the studies whether that's the case - but common sense would say it's quite likely to be both.
"The evidence shows though that whether these women have abortions - or go on to give birth - their risk of having mental health problems will not increase.
"They carry roughly equal risks.
"We believe this is the most comprehensive and detailed review of the mental health outcomes of abortion to date worldwide."
The whole story is here.