Abortion and Mental Health: Evaluating the Evidence

Does abortion cause harm to women’s mental health?

An article published in the December 2009 American Psychologist, “Abortion and Mental Health: Evaluating the Evidence”, evaluates the empirical research addressing the relationship between induced abortion and women’s mental health. The article, which updates the findings of the 2008 Report of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion with six new studies, explores the questions and conceptual frameworks, and the methodological issues involved in evaluating the literature. The authors, members of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, conclude that while most women do not have mental health problems following the abortion of an unwanted pregnancy, some women do.  “It is important that all women’s experiences be recognized as valid and that women feel free to express their thoughts and feelings about their abortion regardless of whether those thoughts and feelings are positive or negative.”

Major, B.; Appelbaum, M.; Beckman, L.; Dutton, M.; Russo, N.; & West, C. (2009). Abortion and mental health: Evaluating the evidence. American Psychologist, 64(9), 863-890.

The full-text version of the 2008 Report of the Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.

Hard copies of the Executive Summary can be obtained by contacting the APA Women’s Programs Office at (202) 336-6044 (phone) or via fax at (202) 336-6117.