Induced abortion and adolescent mental health

Rush Medical College, 5511 South Kenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637-1713, USA.
Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 08/2011; 23(5):340-3. DOI: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32834a93ac
Source: PubMed


Induced abortion is widely believed - by the public, healthcare professionals, and policy-makers - to lead to adverse mental health sequelae. This belief is false, as it applies both to adult women and adolescents. However, it has been used to rationalize, and been quoted in, restrictive and intrusive legislation in several states and in proposed federal legislation. It is essential for gynecologists to have accurate information, as clinicians, for their patients, and, as key experts, for policy makers.
New articles concluding that there are adverse psychological outcomes from induced abortion continue to be published. The methodological flaws in these articles are so serious as to invalidate those conclusions. Several recent scholarly analyses detail these flaws. Methodologically sound studies and reviews continue to demonstrate that psychosocial problems play a role in unwanted conception and the decision to abort unwanted pregnancies but are not the result of abortion.
Clinicians may have to reassure patients making decisions about their pregnancies that abortion does not cause psychiatric illness. They can do so on the basis of recent analyses substantiating that finding.

1 Read

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pregnant minors can obtain an abortion without parental consent through a judicial bypass procedure in 38 states. To grant such a petition in Ohio, the Court must determine that the young woman is either "sufficiently mature and well enough informed to intelligently decide whether to have an abortion," or that notification of her parents is "not in her best interest," usually due to abuse. For the sake of anonymity in these emotionally and politically charged cases, the evaluee is referred to as "Jane Doe." This project sought to describe characteristics of teenagers seeking judicial bypass for abortion, which have not been well described in the scientific literature. Data were collected from Jane Doe evaluations completed at a metropolitan juvenile court psychiatric clinic, over 3 years. The mean age of the evaluees (N = 55) was 16.4 years. The vast majority (95%) were granted a judicial bypass. They usually had long-term boyfriends of comparable age. They had often told trusted adults about their pregnancy, though not their parents, due to concerns of violence or being excluded from the family. This study presents the first comprehensive description of characteristics of minors seeking judicial bypasses for abortion. Psychiatrists may apply general principles of informed consent in such evaluations, including ascertaining whether the decision is being made voluntarily, knowingly, and with sufficient decision-making capacity.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Journal of nervous and mental disease