Study: Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Health Problems -- Having a Baby Does

Good news for all the anti-choice extremists who insist that their politics are driven by their deep concern for women's wellbeing. A new study has found that having an abortion does not put a woman at risk for mental health problems. But you know what does? Having a baby.

A Danish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine tracked 365,550 women over 12 years who'd either had a kid or terminated a pregnancy. They compared the rates at which women in each group sought mental health care. Among the women who'd had abortions, the rate of psychiatric counseling stayed more or less the same before and after the procedure. But in the group that gave birth, the number seeking mental health treatment jumped from 4 women in 1,000 before giving birth, to 7 women in 1,000 post-partum.

The AP, which highlighted the study, writes, "The research by Danish scientists further debunks the notion that terminating a pregnancy can trigger mental illness and shows postpartum depression to be much more of a factor."

The false claim that abortion provokes mental problems has been an important part of religious right propaganda for decades. They even created a made-up, important-sounding name for it: PASS, or Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome. "PASS" is not recognizedby the American Psychiatric Association or the American Psychological Association.

But now that this study is out they can switch to lobbying for policies that make the lives of new moms easier, like universal access to health care, right?

AlterNet / By Tana Ganeva

Posted at January 26, 2011, 2:41pm

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