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News – Abortion and mental health

May 2008

Abortion and mental health


The Royal College of Psychiatrists says that having an abortion can damage a woman’s mental health and women should be told the risks before proceeding. This represents a significant shift in policy for the RCP. In 1994 it said that the mental health risks associated with abortion were far less than those incurred when an unwanted pregnancy was carried to term.

     But following a review of recent evidence, the RCP has changed its view. It now calls for doctors who assess women for abortion to assess for mental disorder and related risk factors. It also recommends that women considering an abortion should be given leaflets warning them of the associated mental health risks.


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