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RCOG statement on BJPsych paper on mental health risks and abortion

News 1 September 2011

A meta-analysis of 22 studies published today in BJPsych shows that women who have had an abortion are at an increased risk of mental health problems.

Three previously published systematic reviews and the RCOG guideline development group (who reviewed all available literature up to February 2011) have concluded that women who have an abortion are not at increased risk of mental health problems when compared with women who continue an unintended pregnancy and have a baby.

One of this paper’s findings points to increased substance misuse and suicidal behaviours among the groups of women. What this research does not fully examine is if these women had pre-existing mental health complications such as dependency issues and mood disorders before the abortion.


Coleman PK. Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009, Brit J Psychiatry 2011; 199, 180–186. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.077230