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Study finds no rise in post-abortion mental issues

As if deciding how to handle an unplanned pregnancy wasn’t stressful enough, several studies in recent years have suggested that young women who have an abortion may be at increased risk of mental health problems afterward.

Those concerns are unfounded, according to a new study conducted in Denmark and published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, the study found, while the rate of psychiatric problems was unchanged in women who had an abortion, it appears to spike post-birth in women who carry their babies to term.

“Women who are in a difficult situation — pregnant and unsure whether or not to continue with the pregnancy — should know that they do not have an increased risk of having a first-time episode of a severe mental disorder after an abortion,” says the lead author of the study, Trine Munk-Olsen, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Aarhus University, in Denmark.