“Post-Abortion Syndrome” – Do Abortion And Depression Go Together?

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A new study suggests that abortion does not cause psychological distress, called "post-abortion syndrome" by some in the pro-life community.

According to researchers at John Hopkins University, there is no scientific evidence that abortion causes psychological distress, or a “post-abortion syndrome,” also including that efforts to show abortion does cause negative mental health outcomes appear to be politically motivated.

The study, called a meta-analysis, reviewed 21 studies involving more than 150,000 women and found the high-quality studies (those done with research methods that were both ethical and as accurate as possible) showed no significant differences in long-term mental health between women who choose to abort a pregnancy and others.

Pro-life groups argue that abortions cause a variety of both physical and mental health problems, whereas some legal documents in places like Australia have been based on evidence which shows that women’s mental health could be adversely affected if they continue with an unwanted pregnancy.

As with most research, for every study you find that makes one claim on a controversial issue like abortion, drug use, or sex work, there will always be another that declares just the opposite, sometimes even with the same data set. However, it’s important for consumers of research (that would be you, reading this blog) to examine the methods used and this impacts the accuracy of the data.

Natalie Ingraham (M.P.H.)

is a recent graduate of Indiana University and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology at University of California San Francisco.
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