By Hilary White

August 13, 2008 ( – A report from the American Psychological Association (APA) published this week claims that there is no meaningful connection between abortion and subsequent psychological disturbances in women. When a woman has a negative psychological consequence, says the report, it is likely only to be in cases where a “wanted” child was aborted for eugenic reasons.

“Among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy,” the report says.

The study’s conclusions dovetail neatly with the insistence of abortion industry lobbyists that the key issue in abortion is “wantedness.” If a woman aborts an unwanted baby, the 90-page study says, the psychological consequences are negligible. It is when a “wanted” child is killed or dies, that a woman experiences subsequent negative mental consequences.

Further research, the report said, must “highlight the importance of taking pregnancy intendedness and wantedness into account when seeking to understand psychological reactions to abortion.”

The report is the result of a year-long review of mental health and abortion by a task force appointed by the APA.

Critics at the time the APA announced the task force pointed out that its membership was heavily weighted with researchers who supported abortion as a legal “right.”

Andrea Mrozek, a Toronto-based writer and researcher and contributor to Pro-Woman, Pro-Life, wrote that at least one of the six-member task force assigned by the APA had already produced flawed research denying the suggestion of psychological consequences of abortion. Brenda Major, Mrozek wrote, was the principal author of a study “where fully fifty per cent of the study sample was lost and yet the authors still managed to declare abortion does not harm women.”

The anti-violence group Consistent Life pointed out in letters to the APA that while the organization claims to base all its positions strictly on scientific research, they have, since 1969, held the “clear political stand” “of abortion as being a civil right for women.”

Mrozek said this assertion undermines the APA’s credibility and that they ought to have dropped the “anachronistic old-school statement.” “Abortion never was a right, not then, not now. And if they keep that sort of statement, it casts a pallour on their work regarding abortion and mental health.”

The study also agreed with the abortion lobby slogans about abolishing “stigma” and supporting “choice.” The real causes of psychological disturbance surrounding abortion, the report says, involves the “stigma, need for secrecy, and low or anticipated social support for the abortion decision” as well as “a prior history of mental health problems.”

Cases of psychological disturbance following multiple abortions is “more equivocal” the report said, but concluded that these could be explained as part of “co-occurring risks” that might “predispose a woman to both multiple unwanted pregnancies and mental health problems.”

Bill Samuel, President of Consistent Life also pointed out the lack of a balanced opinion on the task force. He pointed out that half of the members of the task force were “strong public advocates of the pro-choice view,” while “advocates of the view that abortion is violence to both unborn children and to women, which could balance such biases, are ominously absent.”

Samuel also criticised the timing of the report that comes in an election year in which abortion is a critical issue in both parties.

“The APA position is in accord with that of one of the major political parties, and in opposition to that of the other,” Samuel wrote. “When a prestigious organization puts out a report on a politically volatile issue at a time when political passions run particularly high, any imbalance on the task force will not pass unnoticed…We hope you will pause to reflect upon how partisan this will appear.”

The report is scheduled to be presented at this week’s annual conference of the APA in Boston.

Read related coverage:

APA Panel Convened to Discuss Abortion After Effects is Stacked with Deniers

APA Admits Mental Problems Resulting From Abortion Ignored by Official Position

“Evidence Doesn’t Matter” in APA Abortion Advocacy

Abortion Causes Mental Disorders: New Zealand Study May Require Doctors To Do Fewer Abortions