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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 22nd June 2018 > Abortion Fallacy

Abortion Fallacy

WOMEN’S HEALTH

DWIGHT ESCH LIMAN/GETTY

Does having an abortion undermine a woman’s mental health? Several states emphasize this risk prior to termination of a pregnancy, citing psychological harm to the woman as a reason for restricting abortions. But a new study in JAMA Psychiatry disputes that. Julia Steinberg, a psychologist focused on reproductive health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, examined the rates of depression among 400,000 Danish women born between 1980 and 1994. The result: Women, on average, used the same amount of antidepressants the year after and before an abortion. And the more time that passed following the procedure, the less often they used those medications. “Policies based on the notion that abortion harms women’s mental health are misinformed,” says Steinberg. “Abortion is not causing depression.”

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