The notion that women who get abortions are likely to suffer negative emotional and mental health effects has been used to promote legislation that not only makes it extremely difficult for women to receive an abortion, but also mandates that they receive psychological counseling before obtaining one.
A comprehensive new study published in JAMA Psychiatry disproves the long-held theory and in fact shows that denying women access to an abortion when they sought one was directly connected to mental health issues.
According to lead study author M. Antonia Biggs, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, “There’s been a long history and interest in looking at the effects of abortion on women’s mental health outcomes but a lot of the research before this study has suffered from some methodological shortcomings, and this study really aimed to improve on those.”
In the study, Biggs and her research team followed almost 1,000 women for five years after they either received or were denied an abortion and interviewed the participants one week after seeking the abortion and then every six months following the initial interview. “There is no evidence to justify laws that require women seeking abortion to be forewarned about negative psychological responses,” the study says. Actually, this research shows that “the effect of being denied an abortion may be more detrimental to women’s psychological well-being than allowing women to obtain their wanted procedures.”
“If our goal is protect women’s mental health, which is the intention of many of these laws, then really what we see here is that allowing women to make their own decisions about whether or not they want an abortion is more protective than denying them care,” said lead study author Biggs. So there you have it, ladies and gentleman, scientific evidence to prove that restrictive abortion laws are negatively affecting the mental health of women who seek them.