Concern has been expressed regarding potential
harm to women's mental health in association with induced abortion but there is no clear evidence whether induced
abortion is associated with an increased risk of subsequent psychiatric
A few previous studies have suggested that
induced first trimester abortion is associated with mental health problems.. In
addition there is also an increased risk of psychosis or depression under
certain circumstances like when a pregnancy may become unwanted for a woman and
she is pushed into an induced abortion. Given
the limitations of previous studies scientists wanted to assess the risk of
psychiatric contact following first trimester abortion.
For this study, scientists in Denmark studied
Danish girls and young women of over 15-years of age. None of them had a prior
history of mental disorders. These girls were studied for psychiatric problems
within 12-months after abortion or childbirth and compared with the 9-month
period before the event. In Denmark abortion is legal and freely available
until 12-weeks of pregnancy.
Scientists found that there was no significant
increase in the incidence of psychiatric contact within a year after the
induced abortion. Results showed that 1%
of the women had a first psychiatric contact before the abortion and 1.5% had
contact within 1-year after the procedure.
the scientists concluded that the rate of first time psychiatric contact before
and after first trimester induced abortion is almost the same and does not
support the hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders
after first trimester induced abortions.
The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The New England Journal of Medicine