Late last week Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists issued a statement urging the government to undertake a full review of the linkages between abortion and women’s mental health.
The statement reflected a growing body of evidence, including a long-term study out of New Zealand published in 2006, that abortion is in fact linked with elevated levels of mental distress, including depression, substance abuse and suicide, in young women. While the statement also addresses concern about the mental health status of women in difficult situations who elect to carry their babies to term, it clearly calls for more information to be given to women contemplating abortion that it may have adverse impact on their psychological well being.
The news out of the United Kingdom comes as reports are circulating in the United States that the American Psychological Association may be on the verge of reiterating its view that abortion has no significant mental health impacts. That view is increasingly at odds with the best studies (not to mention the deep and rapidly growing body of personal accounts from women worldwide).
The Royal College’s statement reaches the British Parliament on the eve of a vote on a measure to reduce the time limit on abortions in the United Kingdom from 24 to 20 weeks. Interestingly, 59 percent of U.K. women support the lower limit, much higher than the percentage of men who do.
Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council. This feature was excerpted from the Washington Update that he compiles for the FRC.