British Psychiatrist Group Warns Abortions Can Cause Mental Health Problems

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 16, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

British Psychiatrist Group Warns Abortions Can Cause Mental Health Problems Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 16
, 2008

London, England ( — The national organization in England for psychiatrists says women should be told that abortions can cause mental health problems. The organization says abortion businesses should tell women that abortions present numerous mental health risks such as depression.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists went as far as saying that abortions shouldn’t be done unless women are counseled on the possible risks.

"Healthcare professionals who assess or refer women who are requesting an abortion should assess for mental disorder and for risk factors that may be associated with its subsequent development," the group says.

"If a mental disorder or risk factors are identified, there should be a clearly identified care pathway whereby the mental health needs of the woman and her significant others may be met," it adds.

The group’s determination goes against the assumption some make that a pregnancy has worse mental health ramifications or that it alone generates mental health concerns while abortion is risk free.

That impacts the 90 percent of the 200,000 abortions that take place in England annually in part on mental health grounds.

According to a London Times report, the group says brochures given to women considering an abortion need to be updated to reflect the mental health problems so many women encounter.

“Consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information regarding the possible risks,” the group said.

Dr. Peter Saunders, general secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said doctors who do abortions need to reevaluate the majority of abortions they do.

“How can a doctor now justify an abortion [on mental health grounds] if psychiatrists are questioning whether there is any clear evidence that continuing with the pregnancy leads to mental health problems," he said.

As recently as December, a new Australian study showed women who have abortions are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol compared with those who carry a pregnancy to term.

Kaeleen Dingle, of the University of Queensland, found that women who have abortions were three times more likely to abuse hard drugs like heroin or meth than women who were never pregnant or kept their baby.

The women who had abortions were also twice as likely to be an alcoholic or engage in binge drinking and 1.5 times more likely to suffer from depression.

"So these women, from my findings, seem to be definitely more affected in some ways," Dingle concluded.

Her study follows on a January 2006 one from a New Zealand professor who found women who have abortions are more likely to become severely depressed.

Some 42 percent of the women who had abortions had experienced major depression within the last four years. That’s almost double the rate of women who never became pregnant. The risk of anxiety disorders also doubled.

The group’s comment comes after one woman said she regretted her abortion 40 years later and another who committed suicide after having an abortion of her twin babies.