In August 2008, the American Psychological Association (APA) abortion task force published a report examining the evidence for the claim that elective abortion leads to negative mental health outcomes [
]. Among other things, the report included a brief review of 25 papers published after 1989 in peer-reviewed journals based on secondary data analyses of publicly available data sets or medical records, which were collected for purposes other than understanding the relationship of abortion and mental health. Another recent review by Charles et al. [
- American Psychological Association
Report of the APA Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion.
] examined studies on abortion and its long-term mental health outcomes, and included 21 studies published between January 1, 1989, and August 1, 2008, of which 15 were secondary data analyses. Using different approaches, both reviews concluded that studies with the most sound methodological and data analytic techniques find no evidence for an increase in the relative risk of negative health problems for women undergoing an elective abortion, compared to delivering an unintended pregnancy. However, neither provided guidelines for others to follow when evaluating research on abortion and mental health, and studies of variable rigor continue to be published in peer-reviewed journals. Such guidelines are needed because studies of abortion and mental health require researchers to make study design and data analyses choices, some of which may increase the chances of finding an association between abortion and mental health.
- Charles V.E.
- Polis C.B.
- Sridhara S.K.
- Blum R.W.
Abortion and long-term mental health outcomes: a systematic review of the evidence.
Contraception. 2008; 78: 436-450
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Published online: August 25, 2009
Accepted: June 2, 2009
Received in revised form: May 15, 2009
Received: November 14, 2008
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.