Report: Mandatory abortion counselling not needed

August 18th, 2008 § 2 comments

I tried to find a good snappy short excerpt from the following article, but couldn’t so I’ve quoted a lot.

The Times:

Women do not put their mental health at risk by having an abortion, according to an authoritative study that will undermine the campaign to tighten the UK’s abortion laws.

A comprehensive review of research by the American Psychological Association (APA), one of the world’s most influential mental health bodies, found no evidence that the majority of abortions cause psychiatric problems.

By challenging a key scientific argument for reform, the findings will hinder the latest effort to make it harder for British women to obtain terminations, which is to be debated by the House of Commons in October.

Anti-abortion MPs have tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would require all women to be counselled about psychiatric risks before they can be cleared to have a termination. They cite research suggesting that mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are more common among women who have had abortions.

The APA report said that the findings of such studies were unreliable because they either failed to distinguish between abortions of wanted and unwanted pregnancies, or they did not consider factors such as poverty and drug use that raise the likelihood both of having an abortion and suffering mental illness.

The APA found “no credible evidence” that single abortions could directly cause mental health problems among adults with unwanted pregnancies. It called for more well-designed studies to investigate the issue.

Even the evidence for adverse psychiatric effects of multiple abortions was equivocal, it found. Higher rates of mental illness among such women could be explained by social factors, such as poverty or drug use that also put them at higher risk of unplanned and unwanted pregnancy

Supporters [of mandatory counselling and a ‘cooling off’ period for abortions] pointed to research such as a New Zealand study led by David Ferguson, of Christchurch School of Medicine, which found in 2006 that women who had had abortions had an elevated risk of mental health problems.

The Ferguson study was among those whose design was criticised by the APA review, in this case because it did not distinguish between abortions of wanted and unwanted pregnancies.

So, now we have evidence that voluntary abortions do not have any long term psychologically detrimental effects. This I would presume is because the person having the abortion has had a little time time square the decision withthemselves about what they are doing with an unwanted pregnancy, whereas the people who experience miscarriages or have to terminate for medical reasons do so out of choice and losing as it is generally a wanted pregenancy.

Oh, hi Nadine.

Mrs Dorries said: “If this rehashed, inconclusive and dated research is being used to deny women in the UK who seek an abortion the right to counselling, then it’s a fairly desperate act on behalf of the abortion industry and those who wish to deny women the right to make a fully informed decision.”

FFS, Nadine. First of all, there’s a pot here that wants to meet your kettle. %This report isn’t trying to deny women counselling, it is just saying that mandatory counselling isn’t neccessary. I’m sure a doctor isn’t going to deny counselling if it is needed.
It is also pointless making counselling mandatory as those that do not want it will not participate properly and it will just end up a waste of time for the patient and time and money for the health service.

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