New Study Finds That Abortion Does Not Cause Mental Health Problems in Adolescents

A new study has found that teens that have abortions are no more likely to be depressed or have low self-esteem than their peers. “Do Depression and Low Self-Esteem Follow Abortion Among Adolescents? Evidence from a National Study,” by Jocelyn T. Warren of Oregon State University et al., will appear in the December issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Warren and her co-authors analyzed data collected from almost 300 teenage girls from 1994 to 1996. According to the study, there is no association between having had an abortion and depression or low self-esteem within either a year of the pregnancy or five years later.

Thirty-four states currently require that women receive counseling before having an abortion. The authors of the study concluded that mandatory counseling may harm, rather than educate, women: “[L] 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.”

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