A study released by the American Psychological Association (APA) based on several years of data posits the correlation that there is very little to no discernable direct effect on abortion and its long term consequences on the mental health of women who exert this right to choice. Despite what anti-abortion activists have been using for decades as an abortion scare tactic, this peer-reviewed study from the APA, one of the most respected psychological institutions in the world states without exception that there is no evidence pointing to the often espoused belief that having an abort creates significant psychiatric or mental illnesses.
This finding by the APA about the lack of mental effects of abortion of women who have an abortion complicates the arguments for both sides of the abortion debate, however, thus this finding does not necessarily completely boost one abortion argument or another and in fact, hinders the goals of some, particularly those who are against abortion and is yet another item on the list of scare tactics used by anti-abortion activists to convince women that there should be no choice when it comes to their own bodies.
For many years anti-abortion activists have used a number of approaches that can be best described as scare tactics to dissuade women from having an abortion, no matter what the circumstances are. These anti-abortion methods used to prevent women from having abortions have always included the use of “scare tactics” such as displaying pictures of fetuses following an abortion, discussions about when life truly begins and how abortion is murder, and finally, the constant assertion of the years that having an abortion has a significant impact on the overall mental health of any woman who, for whatever reason, decides to have an abortion.
Before too much is assumed about the relationship between abortion and mental health, there are a couple of important factors to consider related to this study. First of all, the results of this study of the effects on mental health following an abortion were based only on the fact that an abortion had been performed without more extensive data such as the reason for the abortion. For instance, there is no distinguishing in the data produced by this APA study if women had planned or not planned their pregnancy and what the more specific reasons were for the abortion, Interestingly, the study also suggests that women who had late-term abortions due to medical reasons, such as the high likelihood of an unhealthy and/or massively deformed child or, more importantly, because of risks to their health or life if they carried a baby to full term had just as many psychological or mental health issues as women who suffered through a miscarriage or the birth of a stillborn baby.
Still, even with the slightly questionable flaws in the overall methodology of this APA study examining the connection between abortion and mental health, it is significant that the study concluded that there were no discernable connections between a woman’s mental health following an abortion, regardless of the situation that brought her to that point. In other words, this offers us a more general view without specifics to bog us down that perhaps; just perhaps—the age-old anti-abortion argument about mental health being affected by having an abortion is just another scare tactic used by these groups to further emphasize their point without actual credible evidence to underpin it.
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