Teen Depression and Abortion Not Linked

Picture of Ellen Paige from Juno, big belly in the hallway at schoolA new study from Oregon State University shows that teens who have abortions are no more likely to be depressed or have low self-esteem than teens whose pregnancies do not end in abortion. This is the latest evidence in an ongoing debate about connections between mental health and abortion. Although in a 2008 study the American Psychological Association found no evidence between mental health and abortion, there had not been any official studies done on teens until now.

This is good news that legislators and experts can point to when states debate the utility of pre-abortion counseling and ultrasound requirements, especially if Republican and Tea Party candidates push abortion as a central issue in the mid-term elections.

The Guttmacher Institute who published this study reports:

While 34 states currently require that women receive counseling before an abortion is performed, seven of these states specifically require that women be warned of possible negative psychological consequences resulting from the procedure. “Paradoxically,” the authors of the new study suggest, “laws mandating that women considering abortion be advised of its psychological risks may jeopardize women’s health by adding unnecessary anxiety and undermining women’s right to informed consent.”

The study is available in its entirety here and will be published in the sexual and reproductive health journal, Perspectives of Sexual and Reproductive Health, in December 2010.

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