Most Abortion Patients Feel Relief, But States Still Lie About Mental Health Risks

In Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, counseling on abortion's mental health effects is mandatory for prospective patients, who are often vulnerable. The problem? These claims are lies based on bunk science.

Abortion opponents are always on the lookout for another way to scare women. Many new abortion restrictions are focused on the alleged psychological ills felt by women after undergoing the procedure--several states are passing new laws which require women to hear speeches or read literature claiming adverse effects.

But Brenda Major, a prominent professor of psychology who has extensively studied the condition of women after abortion wrote in an op-ed this weekend that these claims are all a falsehood and that there is no substantial causation between abortion and mental health risks:

Rigorous U.S. scientific studies have not substantiated the claim that abortion, compared with its alternatives, causes an increased incidence of mental health problems. The same conclusion was reached in 2008 by an American Psychological Association task force, which I chaired, as well as by an independent team of scholars at Johns Hopkins University. As recently as September, Oregon State University researchers announced the results of a national study showing that teenagers who have an abortion are no more likely to become depressed or to have low self-esteem one year or five years later, compared with their peers who deliver.

Major notes that anti-choicers exploit individual stories of women's regretted abortions, and the fact that many women who seek to terminate already may have mental health issues or suffer from poverty or broken relationships (thus their decision to terminate) to spread their propaganda. These women, therefore, would also be at high risk for post-partum depression or other equal risks if they carried pregnancies to term or chose adoption.

In fact, she says, anti-choice propaganda "drowns out the evidence that a much larger number of women feel relief following an abortion." And even if they feel loss or sadness,she writes, they overwhelmingly end up feeling that they made the right decision.

So why do so many states have laws on the books requiring the spread of false information? 

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at November 8, 2010, 3:52am

Today's Top Stories