Ireland Debates “Abortion Trauma”

Amie Newman

Women in Ireland may face yet one more stigma when seeking an abortion as the Royal College of Psychiatrists and others debate the existence of after-abortion mental health effects.

In a fascinating article in the Sunday Business Post over the weekend, Susan Mitchell explores how Ireland is dipping its toe in the water of the utterly debunked theory that abortion wreaks mental havoc on women in the form of an actual psychiatric disorder.

Clearly taking their lead from the United States’ anti-choice’s community’s creative and preposterous use of politically-motivated "medical" terminology, Ireland’s anti-choice advocates are essentially lobbying for a confirmation of "Post Abortion Syndrome" in order to impose restrictions on abortion.

Ireland’s Royal College of Psychiatrists is now exploring the theory that "abortion can damage a woman’s mental health" even though as recently as last year this organization representing doctors in Britain and Ireland clearly stated that any psychological risks associated with having an abortion were outweighted by those resulting from carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

However, according to the article, the College:

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"…is now advising that abortions should not be performed on women until they have received counselling on the possible risk the termination poses to their mental health."

The anti-choice lobbying organizations in this country have used the disproven and medically unsubstantiated idea that women are psychologically traumatized as the result of having an abortion to push for mandatory counseling and so-called "informed consent" legislation in this country.

And now they are taking their strategy across the water.

The Irish Family Planning Association says that this theory was only developed after others failed and that "there was no definitive evidence to suggest that women suffer psychological trauma after an abortion."

This argument fuels the notion that anti-choice advocates are sticking up for women as much as they are the fetus – a notion that most aren’t buying.

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