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Abortion Typically Doesn't Harm Mental Health: Study
Date:1/27/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo an abortion don't seem to face a greatly increased risk of mental health problems after having the procedure, a new study suggests.

Trine Munk-Olsen, lead author of the study published in the Jan. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, said she was "not surprised by [the] findings," given that they mirror previous research on the subject.

"Most well-made studies in the field of abortion and mental health show that having an abortion is not associated with an increased risk of having a psychiatric episode," she said.

A small study published in the December issue of the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health reported similar findings: Teenagers who have an abortion aren't more likely to be depressed or have low self-esteem than other pregnant teens. But Priscilla K. Coleman, a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, who believes having an abortion boosts the risk of mental health problems, said at the time that the study was too small to reach reliable conclusions because it looked at just 69 teens who had had abortions.

On the latest research, Dr. Joe DeCook, director of operations for the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said, "this Danish study must be balanced by a comparison to the large number of studies that conclude that there is indeed, for many women, a serious and long-lasting untoward result on their mental health wholeness... Fifty percent of abortions are repeat abortions, and the Danish study does not comment on this half of the affected population. Additionally, 11 percent of abortions happen after the first trimester, and these women are likewise not included in this analysis.These are women generally felt to be at higher risk for subsequent mental health problems."

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