Abortion does not raise the risk of a woman suffering mental health problems, health experts have concluded.
Data from 44 studies showed that women with an unwanted pregnancy have a higher incidence of mental health problems in general, but this is not affected by whether or not they have an abortion or give birth.
Experts from the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) used the same research methods they use to assess evidence on other mental health issues for NICE.
Usually, a woman’s risk of suffering common disorders such as anxiety or depression would be around 11-12 percent, but according to the researchers, this rate was around three times higher in women with unwanted pregnancies.
“It could be that these women have a mental health problem before the pregnancy,” the BBC quoted Tim Kendall, the director of NCCMH as saying.
‘Whether these women have abortions or give birth, their risk of mental health problems will not increase.
“On the other hand, it could be the unwanted pregnancy that’s causing the problem.
“Or both explanations could be true. We can’t be absolutely sure from the studies whether that’s the case – but common sense would say it’s quite likely to be both.
“The evidence shows though that whether these women have abortions – or go on to give birth – their risk of having mental health problems will not increase.
“They carry roughly equal risks.
“We believe this is the most comprehensive and detailed review of the mental health outcomes of abortion to date worldwide,” he said.
According to Kendall, many previous studies had failed to adequately control for instances when women previously had mental health problems.