Afternoon Roundup: Study Finds No Higher Risk of Mental Health Issues Post Abortion

Amie Newman

Republican anti-choice legislators continue to introduce time and money wasting measures like the "Life At Conception Act" which have no chance of passing; lady health workers in Pakistan; another study which finds abortion does not carry a higher risk of mental health problems; and sexual violence against Native American women on reservations.

Republican anti-choice legislators continue to introduce time and money wasting measures like the “Life At Conception Act” which have no chance of passing; lady health workers in Pakistan; another study which finds abortion does not carry a higher risk of mental health problems; and sexual violence against Native American women on reservations.

  • Well, it’s a good thing that devastatingly high unemployment rates, state budget crises, and ongoing health reform challenges aren’t distracting some anti-choice Republican legislators from the real issues at hand! Namely, spending time crafting and pushing bills like the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and the latest: the “Life At Conception Act.” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) introduced the bill, which has virtually no chance of passage. Clearly modeled after Personhood amendments which have almost uniformly failed across the country, the bill currently has 9 Republican co-sponsors. Says Wicker, “I’m proud to introduce legislation, which would settle this important life issue once and for all.” 

Researchers from Aga Khan University in Karachi followed almost 50,000 households in two health districts for two years. The areas where the women were assigned to work had 21 percent fewer stillbirths and 15 percent fewer newborn deaths than in other areas.

  • More evidence that abortion does not cause mental health issues. This time from a study out of Denmark. One of the largest studies comparing the experiences post-abortion with post-childbirth shows that having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems but childbirth does. It should be no surprise to women’s health professionals and advocates who study these issues but the conclusive evidence is helpful. From an article in the Washington Examiner,

Researchers compared the rate of mental health treatment among women before and after a first abortion. Within the first year after an abortion, 15 per 1,000 women needed psychiatric counseling — similar to the rate seeking help nine months before an abortion.

Researchers say women who seek abortions come from a demographic group more likely to have emotional problems to begin with. Statistics show that a large percentage struggle economically and they have above-average rates of unintended pregnancies.

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While first-time mothers had a lower rate of mental problems overall, the proportion of those seeking help after giving birth was dramatically higher. About 7 per 1,000 women got mental health help within a year of giving birth compared with 4 per 1,000 women pre-delivery.

  • Between the recently signed into law Tribal Act of 2010 and a new Department of Justice task force charged with addressing sexual violence against women on reservations, advocates are looking towards change. In an article on High Country News, online editor Stephanie Paige Ogburn writes, “One can only hope that the momentum spurred by the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the work of a new Department of Justice task force to streamline prosecution of violent crimes against women on the rez will result in systemic reform. That’s what it will take for victims to have the confidence to bring charges and know that they won’t be brushed off, blamed, or retaliated against.”

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