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American Psychological Association Releases Abortion Report

A report by the American Psychological Association (APA) Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion has found no credible evidence that abortion causes mental health problems. The report was presented at the APA Annual Convention in Boston Wednesday. It reviewed all relevant, peer-reviewed, English-language empirical studies published since 1989. The APA did a similar review published in 1990 with similar results.

In an APA press release, Chair of the task force Brenda Major, PhD summarizes the findings: “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……The evidence regarding the relative mental health risks associated with multiple abortions is more uncertain.”

The task force found that “global statements about the psychological impact of abortion can be misleading.” For example, though there are positive associations between multiple abortions and mental health issues, this association may simply reflect “co-occurring risks that predispose a woman to both multiple unwanted pregnancies and mental health problems.”

Sources:

APA Press Release, 8/12/08; Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion