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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 14:25 EDT

No Link Between Abortion and Mental Health

August 15, 2008

The American Psychological Association said it has found no evidence that abortion causes mental health problems for women.

“There is no credible evidence that a single elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy in and of itself causes mental health problems for adult women,” said a draft report released Tuesday by an APA task force.

The conclusion was reached after an evaluation of empirical studies published in English in peer-reviewed journals since 1989. The report was presented Wednesday at the APA Annual Convention in Boston.

“The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion or deliver that pregnancy,” task force chair Brenda Major said in a statement. “The evidence regarding the relative mental health risks associated with multiple abortions is more uncertain.”

The report said risk factors — including poverty, violence, emotional problems, drug or alcohol use, and prior unwanted births — “predispose women to experience both unwanted pregnancies and mental health problems after a pregnancy, irrespective of how the pregnancy is resolved.”