Medical Treatments

Study: Early Abortions Don't Cause Psychological Problems

| by Toni Brayer MD

The New England Journal of Medicine published a new study that shows there is no increased psychologic impact for women who have early abortions.  The researchers from Denmark looked at almost 85,000 women who had first trimester abortions over a 13 year period and compared them with women who gave birth to live babies.  They found that there was no increase in women who sought psychiatric counseling after the abortion from those that sought help before the abortion.  They also found that women who had a baby sought help more frequently in the year after birth than before.

The most common problems among women in both the abortion and the delivery groups were anxiety, stress and depression. 

Changes in hormone levels, sleep deprivation and just the demands of caring for a new baby could lead to anxiety and depression.  Women who have abortions don't face those stresses.

This study confirms what others have found...that having an early abortion does not increase mental disorders, at least not in Denmark.   It would be interesting to do the same study in the U.S. and see if the results held.    Denmark legalized abortion in 1973, the same year as Roe v. Wade in the United States.

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