Whole Woman’s Health: The Mental Health Myth

Rolling into work, we sometimes see people protesting outside, holding signs that say: “Women regret abortion.” …Really? All of them? Does that mean every single woman who has an abortion is better off having a child, for the sake of her mental health?

Thanks to a recent study carried out by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, it turns out the answer is a solid “no.” Women who have abortions are not at a higher risk for mental health disorders than women who carry a pregnancy to term. The “abortion = depression” myth is just one from a list of myths that anti-choicers like to use to scare women out of a decision they might have chosen otherwise – abortion. The full report (all 252 pages of it) is pretty comprehensive, even dedicating a large portion to a review of past studies on the same topic, their results, what worked and what didn’t, and how to improve on them to yield more accurate results.

Ultimately, it states that whether you’re confident about having an abortion, adoption or carrying to term, an unwanted pregnancy is difficult to face. Neither abortion or child birth are the sole cause of depression after an unwanted pregnancy. Some women regret abortion in the same way that some regret childbirth and some regret adoption.

That said, it may be safe to say that most mental health issues experienced post-pregnancy are symptoms of a deeper problem – that the decision a woman made wasn’t what she wanted.

We suggest that the easiest way to avoid negative feelings related to an unwanted pregnancy is by making sure that the decision is yours, untainted by others beliefs and wishes, and that it aligns with what you want for your own future. With every difficult decision, there may be numerous outside forces that persuade you to do something that you know isn’t right for you. In the end, you are the one who lives with those decisions. Make them your own, with confidence.