I posted extensively on the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion in August, including comments from New Zealand researcher David Fergusson. This month, the Psychiatric Bulletin published an editorial by Dr. Fergusson.
The editorial supports the recent Royal College of Psychiatrists’ statement regarding abortion and mental health.
Fergusson’s editorial notes the contrast between a RCP statements in 1994 and 2008. The 1994 view was that no relationship existed between abortion and mental health. Currently, the RCP cautions about the possible effects and suggests post-abortion counseling.
Fergusson notes that such debates are important, especially in the UK since mental health concerns are offered as the major reason a woman is granted an abortion. If mental health status is not improved, or may be worsened, the effects of abortion have major relevance to policy.
It is unlikely that these problems of evidence, uncertainty and the law will be resolved by further medicolegal debates between pro-life and pro-choice advocates. What is required is a well-designed, well-funded and, above all, impartial programme of research into the mental health risks, benefits and consequences of abortion. The recent Royal College of Psychiatrists’ statement makes an important contribution to this process by highlighting the real uncertainties that exist in the current evidence on abortion and mental health.
It is hard for me to read this in any other way but as a critical contrast to the recent APA report.