Boo-yah! The New England Journal of Medicine has provided further validation that having an abortion does not, in fact, result in depression. Rather, giving birth and raising a baby raises a woman’s risk of having mental health problems.
The Associated Press reports:
Having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does, one of the largest studies to compare the aftermath of both decisions suggests.
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 Danish study included 365,550 teenagers and women who had an abortion or first-time delivery between 1995 and 2007. None had a history of psychiatric problems that required hospitalization. Through various national registries, researchers were able to track mental health counseling at a hospital or outpatient facility before and after an abortion or delivery.
During the study period, 84,620 had an abortion while 280,930 gave birth.
Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling — similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion.
While first-time mothers had a lower rate of mental problems overall, the proportion of those seeking help after giving birth was dramatically higher. About 7 per 1,000 women got mental health help within a year of giving birth compared with 4 per 1,000 women pre-delivery.
The latest findings echo an extensive review by the American Psychological Association in 2008 that found no evidence that ending an unwanted pregnancy threatens women’s mental health.
So, the whole abortion-makes-you-depressed-and-crazy myth can join the abortion-gives-you-breast-cancer lie where it belongs: in the trash!