"Abortion: A psychiatric issue?": Comment
Oates, Margaret R.
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Comments on an article by David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood and Joseph M. Boden (see record 2008-18556-003). Fergusson et al. show 'a modest increase' in risk of subsequent mental health problems in women who have an abortion. Their discussion of research problems is well balanced and describes the intrusion of the moral stance of researchers in the interpretation of results and the hijacking of studies with inconclusive evidence by both sides of the divide to support their cause. However, even in their careful paper there are problems. The cohort size did not allow for any examination of the risk of serious mental illness. The modest increase in risk of mild problems might be accounted for by 'a minority of women [for whom] abortion is a highly stressful life event which evokes distress, guilt and other negative feelings that may last for many years'. Unfortunately, they did not identify who this minority of women might be. Research suggests that women with multiple pregnancy loss and those who have a late termination for foetal abnormality face an increased risk of mental health problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)